CSGO Stakes, an emerging skin betting site, recently announced that it has shut down its service.
According to a Twitter post on May 7, 2016 “… [it] will be online for several weeks to allow everyone to remove their items.”
The URL www.csgostakes.com is already void, raising the question whether users have been compensated for their in-game balances.
The start of CSGO Stakes’ coin-flip gambling service was announced merely four months ago.
Participants create games by placing their items and waiting for challengers. Opponents place an approximately equal number of skins to match the pot. CSGO Stakes determines the winner through a random number generator, taking a slice of the pot as transaction fee.
It looks like the website lacked consistent availability from the start.
Its Steam group contains multiple logs of complaining customers months before the website disappeared. Particularly from April 20 onward, the Steam page is completely littered with spam.
Some commenters say they can’t connect to the site; others claim that they can’t log in. CSGO Stakes’ Steam group administrator hasn’t been online for 31 days. Were weak support and lack of man-power the causes of the site’s demise?
As the Twitter account lacks clues of internal conflict, its short span of activity comes as a surprise. After all, CSGO Stakes’ Twitter account ran daily $50-100 skin giveaways for months.
Little to no news was dedicated to this incident. If anything, people just want their skins back. An official press release regarding the site’s failures cannot be found.
I requested a statement from CSGO Stakes over Twitter but did not receive an answer. Maybe the account is dead. Maybe its inbox is full of support tickets, causing communications to freeze.
Either way, CSGO Stakes’ customer base remains unsatisfied.
Speculation as to possible causes
There is no public information regarding the shutdown of the site.
It seems unexpected, as several known CS:GO figures like lurppis, pyth, Relyks, DaZeD, shinobi and missharvey follow CSGO Stakes on Twitter. Its business fell despite strong community ties.
One could speculate that savings ran out, or investors backed out due to insufficient returns. Maybe its sponsorship campaigns were financially over-aggressive.
After all, CSGO Stakes sponsored ex IBuyPower player, Sam ‘DaZeD’ Marine, right after the confirmation of his permanent ban earlier this year. Arguably, the website’s initial dependence on ex IBP post-ban fame caused skewed predictions for the future, leading to misinformed plans.
Potentially, its fees may have been too high to maintain a loyal fan base. There are multiple possibilities, which all point to inadequate execution – particularly with regards to the use of resources.
How does something like this happen?
CSGO Stakes’ advertisement strategy, as seen on Twitter, mainly focused on skin giveaways. Most of these were done on bot-riddled media services, namely Twitter and Steam groups.
Considering the bot-infested climate of 2016, this strategy most likely failed to produce desired growth. Maybe the majority of giveaway participants were bots, causing the site’s real followers to feel cheated. As CSGO Stakes only has 21 Google+ followers, the most significant factor probably lies in the idea that not enough of its social media followers were genuine.
Alternatively, this form of betting might be starting to falter overall. One could argue that the over-saturation of item gambling is closing the market, forcing smaller players out of the competition. Also, it seems like these websites can go offline at any time, leaving users who invested destitute.
CSGO Stakes is one of the first significant item gambling sites to fail. We might have a trend on our hands if other services follow suit.