Understanding What’s Happening In Esports Skin Betting: A Free Report From Narus Advisors

Written By Joss Wood on October 5, 2016

[toc]Narus Advisors has produced a timely report on esports skin betting called “Skins In The Game: The size of esports skin betting in 2016, its convoluted closure, and how it could shape the future of esports wagering.”

The report can be downloaded for free here.

Esports Betting Report’s Will Green has produced a succinct and highly digestible analysis of the current state of esports skin betting and its future prospects.

The seventeen page report provides both insiders and industry observers with a complete breakdown of the events surrounding Valve’s decision to issue “cease and desist” letters to third parties using the Steam platform to run skin gambling operations.

The report is particularly timely as only today, Oct. 5, the Washington State Gambling Commission ordered the Valve Corporation to stop the transfer of skins via its Steam API.

In a letter to Valve, the Commission laid down the law:

“The Gambling Commission expects Valve to take whatever actions are necessary to stop third party websites from using ‘skins’ for gambling through its Steam Platform system, including preventing these sites from using their accounts and ‘bots’ to facilitate gambling transactions.”

Skin betting in 2016 report contents

The report includes figures and easy to comprehend graphics to track how a business with a potentially huge future has been decimated by Valve’s decision. The key chapter headings are:

Lounge’s Seven-Month, $1 Billion Handle–Betting On Lounge In 2016: By The Numbers
Valve’s Crackdown On Skin Betting–Four Skin Betting Scandals
Lounge’s Final Days–An Ending Not On Its Own Terms: Other Sites Attempted Workarounds Outside The US
Core Concepts
The Future Of Skin Betting–How Some Regulators Are Beginning to Address Skins
A Skins Case Study: CSGOFAST
Lounge’s Product Pivot: Coin Betting
Key Takeaways

Skin gambling market developments

Each chapter presents comprehensive, well-structured information so that it is simple to understand how the various factors affecting the industry inter-relate and how they have led to the current situation.

• Comprehensive skin betting data for over 200 professional CS:GO matches from top 2016 tournaments: Match odds, tournament betting volumes and total USD handle sizes, demonstrating how large the industry grew.
• A breakdown of the four major skin gambling scandals precipitating Valve’s crackdown: Whom they implicated, how they eroded trust, and the elements of the skin betting industry they helped cast greater scrutiny on.
• An analysis of Lounge’s decision to shutter skin betting, and how it relaunched: How it attempted to stay in the market, its shift to a coin-based betting product, and the challenges facing esports betting with virtual currency.
• A recap of how targeted sites reacted to Valve’s crackdown: The attempted workarounds by sites, and how websites named in the company’s cease and desist letters have closed, stayed open, or pivoted to something new.
• An overview of regulators’ reactions to skin gambling: How governmental bodies are beginning to interpret various forms of esports wagering (including skin gambling), and what their comments and actions signal about the industry’s future.

In the report, Narus and Will Green have produced a valuable explanation of skin betting that will be useful to lawmakers, regulators and the wider online gaming industry.

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Joss Wood

Joss Wood holds an English degree from the University of Birmingham and also earned a master’s degree in organizational development from the University of Manchester. Joss has a special focus on the international online gambling market, though he also writes extensively on US regulated markets, sports betting, and esports betting.

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