The seedy world of video game gambling has recently been thrust into the spotlight after the revelation that a pair of successful YouTubers were promoting a gambling site, CSGOLotto, that they happened to own. They failed to disclose their relationship with the site, instead acting as if they merely stumbled across it.
That story has attracted a lot of attention to the massive world of game-related betting, and it has gotten players and critics riled up about the state of the third-party sites that promote and maintain those bets. But while those kinds of dubious-looking sites are easy to malign, the issue of kid-friendly gambling, and its rampant promotion, has reached a point where the problem can’t be resolved if we don’t assign blame to the game and online marketplace developer at the heart of everything: Valve Software.
Hats and skins, the chips of the online gambling world
Valve’s two biggest games at the moment, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, enjoy unabashed popularity among gaming’s bettors. Gambling sites routinely sponsor tournaments and streams, making the phenomenon hard to avoid if you have any interest in e-sports. Most gambling is of the straightforward “bet on who will win a professional game” type, though not all; CSGOLotto, for example, creates pools of in-game items that one person wins in a randomized draw.
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