The Plight of CS:GO Gambling Sites: Fallen & Dazed
Lately a series of community threads have garnered support against a few professional players advocating gambling websites. The two professionals in question are Fallen and Dazed, but they just stand as representatives for the entire community. There are several players on professional teams constantly making videos about gambling. These videos encourage youngsters to gamble their skin.
Gambling has always been a contentious issue in Counter Strike. Much of the initial rise in viewership can be attributed to one website, namely csgolounge.com. This website helped users to gamble skins and place bets on match outcomes. Initially it started off as a positive thing with streamlining the casual fan into esports viewing. However as time passed, csgolounge became the representative of all that was bad with the skin betting industry.
A few lawsuits against Valve did not help matters as Valve was legally forced to take action against these gambling websites. Since they used Valve’s skins and the Valve API to enable kids to gamble and bet, the Washington Gambling Commission sent out notices to Valve. This forced Valve to send out notices to a few skin gambling websites asking them to shut down.
The Infamous Match Fixing scandal
One of the most famous outcomes of skin betting on matches is the IBP Match Fixing scandal. The IBuypower CS GO team was accused and later proved to have thrown the outcome of a match for money ( via in game skins) . Their opponents were Netcodeguides, a team which was co-owned by one of the IBP players, Dazed.
The match fixing scandal created a huge controversy in the community, since the ‘holier than thou’ view of players took a hit. This was one of the first match fixing scandals to hit esports. IBuypower were a very popular team at the time and considered a competitor to the European dominance in CS GO.
Three years later, gambling and Dazed have come together in yet another controversy. Up to this year, the community’s view of Dazed has been of a player who made a mistake. Most of the community has been demanding an unban on Dazed and the ex-IBP players. While Valve has not budged from their stance on an indefinite ban. However third party tournament organisers such as ESL have unbanned the IBP players. They are now free to join teams and potentially compete at the top level yet again.
Most of the members from the ex-IBP team have moved on and joined a professional counter Strike team. However Dazed still remains teamless and resorts to his social media links to remain relevant in the scene. His Youtube Channel has over 160000 subscribers, but most of his content of late has been advertising skin gambling websites.
A year on – New websites have popped up
Valve’s ban on skin betting websites did stop most of the big names in the Skin betting industry. However, it remains difficult to stop gambling altogether. It’s been almost a year since the notices were sent out, and yet we see new websites constantly pop up. These new websites fill the gap left behind. There is a huge demand for similar services.
Gambling in itself is not a problem. Regular sports are supported by the betting industry. We have some of the biggest betting websites as sponsors for teams. However, The underlying problem here lies in the fact that majority of Counter Strike players are actually teenagers. They are not adults, however, the websites do not usually take steps to properly identify the age of their users either. There are strict rules set for Gambling in various states which include age checks, addiction warnings, self imposed limits etc. Most of the gambling websites do not enforce such precautions.
The lack of restrictions and guidelines with regards to betting is a big problem for esport.s
We will not be naming any websites in order to not provide them with any traffic.
Why is this a problem?
A year ago, a series of Youtubers were exposed due to their affiliations with skin betting websites. These youtubers with massive fan following had been advertising these skin gambling websites. It was later revealed that these Youtubers in fact owned / co-owned the websites. The outcome of the rounds that they would feature in their videos were rigged.
This is not only unethical, but also illegal as some of these Youtubers have since faced legal action or lawsuits. Most of them have stopped advertising websites on their Youtube channels.
So when a reddit thread about Dazed and similar videos to Tmartn and others was posted, it caught the attention of the community. They were very vocal ( mostly against Dazed) about the entire video and the intentions of the player.
Websites such as these pay youtubers to post videos playing on their website. Often times, the results are rigged to lure viewers to betting on the website. Dazed has no regrets about his actions and has been seen joking about the same on twitter.
It’s the thought of having a professional and much loved community figure possibly scamming young minds is very hurtful. Dazed does not have a team right now and does not look like he will be on one anytime soon.
Fallen – Even the best err.
Apparently Dazed is not the only professional to be advertising skin betting websites in such a manner. One of the most respected players in the community, Fallen also has videos on his Youtube. With titles such as “Boltz’s tactics to getting rich” there is definitely a very clickbait title for most teenagers. With the amount of respect for Fallen in community, it is obvious that he will have an influence on young teenage minds.
Who cracks the whip?
The problem with CS GO right now is that there is no governing body. While Valve owns the IP to the game, they have a very hands off policy towards anything in the professional scene. This is why we have a plethora of third party tournament organisers in the scene. There is no player union, or a group which correctly represents the teams in the industry.
We have seen WESA be the only dominant group remaining, after PEA’s exit from CS GO. We think WESA should implement strict guidelines to the teams under their umbrella regarding these Gambling websites. There are currently thirteen top teams under the WESA association.
WESA affiliated teams :
- Virtus Pro
This would form a big chunk of the top players and Youtubers in the industry. It would also set an example for other teams to follow suit and shun skin gambling websites. It’s time to mature as an industry. Since Valve has not initiated any action, it’s time for teams to lead the way in making the industry a friendly place.
A lot of these problems will be solved when teams decide which investors to bring on for the team. Getting gambling websites as sponsors is fine. But they need to be regulated and have all the checks and balances that normal sports betting websites are subjected to.
Legality of CS GO Skin Gambling – Lionel Iruk