Over the past year, the once underground phenomenon of betting on e-sports hit the mainstream.
Valve—developer of the first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, one of the biggest games in e-sports—found itself on the receiving end of angry parents, civil lawsuits, and government intervention that accused it of facilitating unregulated third-party gambling websites.
It didn’t help that prominent CS:GO players and popular YouTubers Syndicate and TmarTn (who boast tens of millions of subscribers between them) were found to be actively creating videos that promoted the skin gambling website CSGO Lotto—a site the pair jointly owned.
The problem hasn’t been limited to CS:GO either, with Craig Douglas (aka NepentheZ on YouTube) pleading guilty to running an unlicensed FIFA betting website that the court found was “used by children.”
When games like League of Legends attract viewerships as high as 14.7 million people—and when the prize pools for competitions now hit tens of millions of dollars—the rise of e-sports gambling was inevitable The question is: how do you deal with it? While Valve succumbed to public pressure and began issuing cease and desist orders to CS:GO websites (most of which are still online today), the reality of the situation is that gambling sites, government-regulated or otherwise, will continue to run—there’s simply too much money on the table.
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