[toc]After over a month removed from its abrupt skin betting shutdown in the wake of pressure from Valve and the esports community, CSGOLounge has launched a coin betting product on professional esports matches.
New users signing up for the site Monday received 100 free coins to bet with on upcoming CS:GO matches, such as the day’s ESL Pro League slate.
It is not immediately clear how players acquire additional coins to bet with, or if coins derive any real money value.
Lounge announces coin-based esports betting system
In an announcement on its site Monday morning, Lounge told users:
As of today, we will be releasing our new Lounge betting system.
This entails a couple of new features including; coins, betting, rankings, notifications, and more.
Users will now have the option to place Lounge Coins as a bet on csgolounge.
We have multiple tracking and ranking features so you can see the top predictors, highest winners and other stats.
With this, comes a new new look and a new notification system that will inform users about recent bet outcomes, announcements, new match posts, etc. Other features, are currently being worked on and will roll out as soon as possible.
We are working on a solution for items withdrawal, please stay tuned for upcoming updates.
The move resembles that of other sites which have pivoted to non-skins forms of esports wagering.
CSGOFast, for example, recently converted to a real-money gambling site using virtual coins, but blocked its product from US consumers. CSGOStrong and CSGOCosmos made similar moves.
Lounge’s conversion to a coin betting site also illustrates the persistence and adaptability of unregulated esports betting sites, and their willingness to take risks to offer new products.
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Payment, monetization strategies unclear
Per comments on Reddit, it appears that the site still has not worked out a system for withdrawal. It is also not clear how the new coin betting feature will make money, if it all.
The new format involves players making a series of bets with coins over time, and a rankings system to show who has made the most successful bets and who has the highest balance of coins.
As of Monday morning, the player tied with the lead for the highest successful number of bets was BOREWIK.
That is believed to be Robert Borewik, the original founder of the Lounge in 2013 and the steward who helped grow it into the world’s largest skin betting site before its closure on Aug. 16.
Lounge recently shut down all betting amidst scrutiny
According to an ESBR and Narus Advisors analysis, Lounge did just over $1 billion in skin betting handle between Jan. 1 and Aug. 1, 2016.
On Aug. 1, following pressure from game maker Valve and after being named in a cease and desist letter, Lounge said it would restrict skin gambling in 16 countries and apply for a betting license in those countries to be able to offer its product.
On Aug. 16, one day after EsportsObserver reported that Lounge’s parent company owned a 90 percent stake in a professional esports organization, Lounge shut down all skin betting worldwide.