You won’t find the new generation of compulsive gamblers in casinos or race tracks. You have to be over eighteen or to enter those places…
These new gamblers are young adults and teens gambling away their savings and allowances online from the comfort of home, many going into serious debt. The name of the game is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Counter-Strike is a popular competitive First Person Shooter for PC (a game where players shoot each other). All the gambling stems from the virtual items that can be acquired in the game known as skins. Skins are purely cosmetic paint designs for the weapons you can use in the game. At first glance, the concept of acquiring weapon skins in a video game seems harmless enough until you realize they can be bought and sold for real cash with most only costing a few cents while others are valued at thousands of dollars depending on the rarity.
Acquiring skins in Counter-Strike is basically gambling in itself. A player must spend $2.50 to open a box (a case) for a random chance of winning a rare and expensive skin. A roulette style animation appears when the case is opened and selects the new virtual item. It’s not much different from buying scratch lotto tickets, however scratch lotto tickets actually have much better odds at winning anything worthwhile. There are hundreds of YouTube videos showing people opening cases and “Winning Big!” with views in the millions. Here’s one of a young man opening cases for almost two hours. The guy in that video almost exclusively posts gambling videos, like this one, and has over three million subscribers. Most of his viewers are teens and preteens. He was recently exposed to be the owner of the gambling website he was using in his videos, tricking teens into thinking they could win big money using his site.
Counter-Strike gambling websites have been popping up on the internet for the past couple years. Gamblers use their skins to place bets on these websites. It is estimated that over 2.3 billion dollars in bets were placed on these websites in 2015 alone. Since skins technically aren’t real money these websites are operating in a “legal grey area” and are completely unregulated. A twelve-year old can get on and start gambling instantly and many do. The industry and craze continues to grow.