The End of CS:GO Gambling

Greetings, I, the WarOwl greets you. I go away for a few days, for my annual Easter vacation and I come back to pure unbridled panic in the Counter-Strike community and I’m loving it. All due to a single patch note. CS:GO items received in trade, cannot be retraded for a period, of seven days. I can remember things by the way. Sure, inconvenience for the avid trader.

But why did Valve make this change now? And, why are so many people calling this *in overly dramatic voice* the death of Counter Strike. *awkward silence* *normal voice* Oh, its still me. We don’t have a voice over section?

Or even a comfortable chair? Alright I’ll wing it. We don’t need to go over line by line in the patch notes it’s the first thing you see when you launch the game. It’s right in the center of your screen, you can’t miss it. Let’s just go over the greatest hits.

Recently we’ve been looking into ways to reduce some negative unintended uses of trading in CS:GO, such as fraud and scams. Now, it’s very interesting that Valve would use fraud and scams as a justification for the trade ban we’re sort of dancing around the real issue here aren’t we? Gambling Oops, did I say the G word? Now, because of the ability to take a steam item and turn it into cold, hard cash a lot of nefarious organizations have popped up to exploit this. Specifically, gambling organizations because it’s unregulated, there’s a very vulnerable user base it’s ripe for the picking.

And a lot of people are arguing that, taking away all that stuff, taking away skin trading, the ability to make money off of it and the gambling organizations, and the betting and stuff would destroy Counter-Strike and would destroy the esports scene. I would argue that Counter-Strike is the game. Counter-Strike is not the monetization strategy that Valve has created around it. If, you take away those elements and Counter-Strike dies, than Counter-Strike didn’t deserve any of that in the first place it’s not a good enough game to stand on it’s own. That’s my argument to it, now there’s a very big difference between an arcade token and a poker chip. With an arcade token, you take your money, you turn it into a token and then you use that token like a Chuck e Cheese token to play games and have fun, you don’t expect anything out of it.

At the best, you’ll get an overpriced plushie or, some tickets to get plastic crap that’ll end up in a land fill. The poker chip on the other hand, you take your money, you turn it into a poker chip, you use it for fun and games, and then you cash out. You turn the poker chip back into money. For Steam’s system to work It needs to be more like the token. It can’t be like the poker chip cause it opens themselves up to all kinds of legal problems.

You, you have unregulated, underage gambling going on, using their system. That could eventually could bite them in the ass. *slot machine noises* So, what’s gambling and why do we have this big subculture of gambling in Counter-Strike in particular. The thrill of gambling doesn’t come from winning or losing money. It actually comes from the anticipation of a payout which stimulates the reward center of the brain. You can see this very clearly in how casinos and… case openings for example, try to stimulate you as much as possible during the anticipation phase.

You have bright, flashing lights and colors and sounds. *Slot machine noises* Ding ding ding ding ding ding ding ding Why in Counter-Strike is this happening? Well first, you have ability to take a steam item and turn it into money so you can create this system that’s completely unregulated.

It’s sort of in the shadows also, you have this audience that you can reach, these people who play the game. These people who are already sort of in the system cause they already have skins. They already have the skins in their inventory. They don’t have to buy in, they already have it there. And also, you have a huge reach through people like YouTubers, people who advertise these things and many of the YouTubers even own the gambling sites.

That’s happened a few times. Over time. third-parties have developed services that use automated Steam accounts to mimic players and make use of Steam’s trading functionality. Unfortunately, some of these third party services have become a vector for fraud or scams. Unlike players, these services rely on the ability to trade each item very frequently.

In contrast, a give item moves between actual players no more than once a week in the vast majority of cases. I’m not clickbating you by the way, we’re building up to it, *overly dramatic voice* the imminent death of gambling *normal voice* or whatever the heck I’m gonna call this video. Valve once again here is using statistical analysis to aid in their patch notes. So they must’ve looked at the trades that happened and noticed that in the vast majority of cases once an item is traded, it’s not traded again for at least a week. What they’re ignoring here is the small amount of people who participate in the trading community, and who trade in high frequency, this is going to greatly, greatly hurt them and all of that community and there’s legitimate trading going on, it’s a huge subculture it’s something people do for fun, it’s like a hobby, it’s like a side thing.

And yeah, this patch does really hurt that which is *unintelligible stuttering* it’s a bad thing. I admit that right out here, but there’s some benefits that could come from this as well to both the community and especially to Valve which is why I think they’re doing this. I think the seven day ban is so that they can better track skins. So follow me on this one. Little Timmy gets scammed.

Oh, I lost my karambit! Valve, I want my karambit back. Oh the karambit’s gone man, it’s gone through fifty bots, uh some guy bought it for forty bucks, now he’s got it, what, Valve’s gonna go to that guy and say: *in deep voice* hey, this belongs to Timmy, you gotta give it back. *normal voice* He didn’t do anything wrong, that doesn’t seem fair does it?

If there’s a seven day ban Valve has a week to get that item back to Timmy. I, I honestly that’s a really good thing for, uh stopping scamming from happening. Uh, unfortunate side effects but that’s a good thing that could happen.

Also, they explicitly state here the purpose is to kill the bots. So how these gambling sites and skin trading sites and all those things function is they have a lot of bots that automatically trade with players and then those get all shuffled and thrown everywhere and then of course laundered into real money. Of course that’s how people get skins out of the system as well is from these bots.

Now the bots have the items for seven days. The only way that these companies can now function, or I guess not companies but organizations I don’t even know if, they’re probably not incorporated these organizations can function… is if they have a huge inventory, like a back inventory of skins just sitting there, waiting for the trade ban to expire. What is that, that leaves them ripe for the taking man, Valve I’m gonna give you some advice.

Ban the bots. Do it, do it, if you have these inventories sitting there with skins that they can’t trade and then Valve comes in and bans them I mean you’ve just taken out these sites. You’ve, you have pretty much taken full control over your own market Valve. So goodness, also here’s my little justifica- I’m gonna try to give you a justification for this.

If you kill all of those skins, you’ve taken out a lot of supply, this game’s been going on for a long time, there’s a huge supply of skins out there. If you kill the supply, the price is going to go up. Look, I didn’t say that. *over exaggerating clearing his throat* Like can we do cheating next, can we kill cheating next? Thank you folks very much for watching. I am the WarOwl, and I still, have no closer.

Like the cockroach, they are resiliant and agile and will survive they’ll be back.