73 Gambling Sites Linked to Counter-Strike CS:GO

Written by:
Aaron Goldstein
Published on:
Feb/27/2024

Barron's recently found that 73 gambling websites have been linked to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) with nearly a million people playing the game. 

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Counter-Strike is, per Wikipedia, is a series of multiplayer tactical first-person shooter video games in which teams of terrorists battle to perpetrate an act of terror (bombing, hostage-taking, assassination) while counter-terrorists try to prevent it (bomb defusal, hostage rescue, escort mission).  The company is created by Bellevue, Wash.–based Valve Corp.  Since CS:GO was released in 2012, an estimated 205 million people have installed the multiplayer game, according to industry tracker Gamalytic.

Established gambling sites like BetOnline regularly take bets on CS:GO events as well.  This is a compliment to Big Tech platforms hosting popular videostreams that promote gambling sites and offer detailed tutorials. Barron’s identified 120 streamers on Amazon.com–owned Twitch that are sponsored by skin gambling sites. Google’s YouTube is replete with its own skin gambling content, Barrons noted.

“You cannot look at CS:GO and not look at gambling anymore. It is not possible,” a YouTuber known as Houngoungagne tells Barrons.  His CS:GO-focused channel embraces some 724,000 subscribers.

Then there's Kick, Twitch's top competitor, which, unlike Twitch, actually embraces gambling.  Kick has lured some of the top streamers over to its platform and welcomes their promotion of gambling.

Call of Duty streamer Nickmercs recently signed a reported eight-figure contract with the Twitch rival. In a new video, he confirmed that gambling streams on Kick were ‘part of the contract.’

Twitch, on the other hand, updated its Community Guidelines last summer to explicitly state that the promotion and sponsorship of skins gambling sites tied to CS:GO is prohibited.  Twitch had previously cracked down on certain types of gambling promotions in streaming.

CS:GO utilizes loot boxes though skins which enables gamers to buy, sell, trade and eventually gamble with the items.

Nick Devor of MSN:

Skins are particularly lucrative for third-party sites that allow Counter-Strike players to upload and wager their items, ultimately converting them into cash or cryptocurrency. Valve’s own programming code, known as an application programming interface, or API, makes this possible. Using the API, game players can log in to a gambling site with their Valve credentials, giving them access to their Counter-Strike inventory.

APIs are used across the internet to allow communication between websites. One common use case of APIs is allowing consumers to log in to various internet sites using credentials from platforms like Apple.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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