The biggest name in CSGO skin gambling industry – CSGO Lounge shuts down its operations after Valve's cease and desist letters – What does this mean for professional Counter Strike Global Offensive events?
I am sure all of you already know by now that Valve took extreme measures towards Counter Strike Global Offensive skin gambling websites after a public outreach of criticism that peaked a few weeks ago. They sent numerous cease and desist letters giving various gambling websites a 10-day deadline to shut down all of their gambling related operations. At first, it seemed as though the above mentioned websites will find a way to bypass Valve’s threats, but now it is becoming more and more clear that they have their backs against the wall. With many of the smaller websites on that list already shut down, I have to admit that I was pretty surprised when the biggest name on the list (and one of the biggest CSGO betting/gambling sites generally) decided to shut down its operations as well.
Of course, I am talking about CSGO Lounge which has been providing Steam users with skin betting for a couple of years now. With this being said, it is becoming pretty clear that Valve did not joke around when sending those letters. If CSGO Lounge, which is by far the strongest name on their list, had to shut down all of its operations, there is no doubt that others will fall in the same fashion. This could mean a real end to skin gambling for minors which is exactly what Valve announced just a couple of days before handing out the first batch of cease and desist letters.
After CSGO Lounge announced that they will shut down most of their website (not 100% of it, there will still be some functionality on the general tabs but everything gambling-related will be down) starting on 1st of August; there are many questions left hanging in the air, whereas the most important one still remains – Will shutting down gambling websites take a huge toll on viewership and global popularity of Counter Strike Global Offensive?
Well, we cannot know for certain will it take a HUGE toll, but one thing is for sure – it will cripple down their viewers in a matter of weeks (if not days) and Valve will probably notice the drop shortly afterwards. Truth be told though, the main question still remains – How significant will the viewership drop be and will Valve regret its decision to shut down those sites. Another big problem is that Counter Strike will lose a ton of sponsors for the great tournaments, many of which were profound gambling websites.
As of time writing this article, more than 90% of CSGO Lounge has been down across Europe, Americas and the rest of the world. Things are not looking good for other gambling websites as well because, as it seems, they will have to either shut down their gambling operations as well, or introduce new registration and validation systems that can help prevent children (minors under 18 years of age) and / or people from banned countries (countries in which ebetting is not listed as legal in their gambling laws). This would also mean that many of those sites would have to introduce complex IP validation systems as well, so that people could not trick their websites via fake VPNs such as Hola.
With all this in mind, there is no doubt that a big couple of months are in front of the game Counter Strike Global Offensive. After all the gambling sites shut down their operations, it is pretty clear that CSGO will be left by lots of sponsors which have major effect of its future as a globally popular competitive eSport.
As I already stated above, we will know more in the following weeks after all this fuss calms down for a bit. There are still many questions left unanswered (among which is the entire situation regarding the future of PhantomL0rd and issues regarding CSGO Shuffle) but we will have to wait quite some time before they are dealt with entirely.
Truth be told, Counter Strike Global Offensive is too big to collapse under this weight, but one thing is for sure – Valve could face serious problems due to their drastic actions. How serious? That is left to be seen…
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