General Article Skin gambling: teenage Britain’s secret habit

Topic Selected: Gambling

An extract from a report by Parent Zone: The experts in digital family life

What is skin gambling?

A brief history of skins

Skins are virtual items that can be won or purchased within certain video games to decorate and customise weapons. They rarely affect gameplay and are mainly aesthetic but, due to their popularity, a marketplace has developed for the trading of skins.

Skins were popularised in the 2012 video game Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), owned by the US-based Valve Corporation. Valve also developed the Steam platform, which lets players buy, sell or trade their personal skin collections for real or virtual currency.

As a result, individual skins have developed unique values, based on market demand. In this process, skins have themselves become a virtual online currency.

The rise of skin gambling

As the popularity of CS:GO grew as an esport – a form of competitive gaming played and watched by millions of fans worldwide – interest grew in betting on major esports...

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