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Skins in the Game

In recent months, a new phenomenon known as skins gambling has grown tremendously. The process involves video game players—some of whom are not of legal age to gamble offline—using in-game collectibles as currency to wager on games of chance; the most common example arose from the game CounterStrike: Global Offensive, in which skins refer to unique camouflages and ornaments for players’ weapons. The trend has expanded to the point where the skins can be transferred or redeemed for use on other platforms than the original games.

A recent study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies by Nancy Greer and colleagues from Australia’s Central Queensland University sought to identify whether those who participate in

esports cash betting, esports skin betting or third-party skins betting were more likely to develop problem gambling tendencies.

Despite some limitations, the findings showed that of the three categories, only third-party skins betting resulted in higher rates of problem gambling or gambling harms. For every one-unit increase in third-party skins betting, the study said, respondents were 1.322 and 1.170 times more likely to experience an increase in problem gambling and gambling harms, respectively.

Skins chart

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