There is nothing wrong with gambling as long as it is done responsibly and in moderation. The biggest complaint against online betting and gaming is that it makes gambling available to underage people and leads them to lose a lot of money they shouldn’t have wagered in the first place. The online gambling industry might be virtual but the money spent (and lost) on it is absolutely real. Underage gambling is a particularly big issue since young people, especially men, are very vulnerable to gambling away a lot of money on e-sports tournaments.
e-sports tournaments are very popular with teenagers and young adults because they give people the opportunity to place wagers on competitive video gaming. The games in question generally have hundreds of thousands of players busy competing on it at any point of time. The e-sports industry has become so popular that it is expected to be worth $1.9 billion within 2 years given the increasing amount of disposable income available with young people these days. While there is a well-established and licensed market that offers these games, not every company plays by the rules. In fact, many companies even attract underage participants in order to increase their customer base.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
This game is a very good example of what can go wrong when underage people are permitted to gamble without any restrictions. Young people, many of whom are underage, play this game on Valve Corporation’s Steam online games distribution platform. In fact, it is estimated that more than 380,000 people play this game simultaneously at any given time. There are teams that compete to play these games and people bet on the outcome of the competitions. The betting scene has become more complicated thanks to a brisk trade in collectible weapons known as skins.
The skins used in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are extremely glamorous and appealing. Players like to upgrade their weapons as often as possible and are willing to pay good money for them. These skins can be bought during the game and they can be traded with other players for actual money. The total value of skins bet on outcomes of various e-sports competitions was $2.3 billion in 2015. This is no doubt a large figure, but the efforts of 3 million players contributed to it. These figures are only expected to grow given that the e-sports industry is expanding at a very fast pace.
Valve gets a fair amount of profit from the heavy trade in skins for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The skin betting sites use platforms that have Valve software, and the developer gets a cut of 15% on every skins trade. Since the amount is so large overall, and a substantial part of it comes from underage players, there are calls to hold the company responsible for losses made by underage players. This might seem harsh but it is definitely a good way to increase accountability in the industry and force companies to take the right steps to weed out underage players.