Last Updated on 29/09/2022
Fact checked by: Sophie McCarthy
Just a note to say Strafe does not condone or recommend Skins gambling. Instead, we invite you to check out the below legal eSports betting sites for a safe experience.
Skins betting is a concept that is completely unique to eSports betting. It first came to prominence through the game CS:GO, but quickly caught on with other eSports games.
With the rise of cash gambling, some people believe that skins betting is becoming a thing of the past. Can it still be done and is it still legal? These are just a couple of the questions we’ll answer for you here. We'll also offer you some suitable equivalents and alternatives to the CS:GO skin betting sites.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, skins gambling is a form of gambling that uses virtual goods, currencies and other in-game items as the stake instead of cash. The creation and uptake of skins gambling can almost claim to be single-handedly responsible for the rise of CS:GO as one of the biggest eSports in the world - with it now being an eSports cash betting favorite as well as the CS:GO bet skins.
The rise of skins betting was sharp and fast, however the drop was equally as steep. As more and more of the skins gambling market got pushed into the underground economy, regulating it became near impossible - with a big issue meaning there was little-to-no way of ensuring safe payments and protecting underage players from the CS:GO skin betting sites, among others.
With CS:GO and most other sports, skins gambling in its original form has largely become a thing of the past - but not completely. That’s why we’ll run you through the remaining CS:GO skin betting sites & best alternatives to skin betting. There are still many illegal skin betting sites out there, which we urge you to avoid. If you want to keep in check with the legal issues surrounding eSports betting in general, then check out our eSports legal betting guide here.
Back in 2017, the Isle of Man became the first regulator to include skin betting within the realms of its gambling license and regulation regime. The first legal skin betting license was granted was handed to ESP.bet in August of 2017, and today there are still a handful of others, including Luckbox.
Does this mean that you have to move to this remote island off the coast of England to have legal skins betting? It depends where you’re actually from. If you’re from Canada, India or multiple countries in Europe, including Sweden and Poland, then you can legally use all of the services that a licensed overseas gambling site offers. Therefore, if a site legally holds a valid Isle of Man skin betting license with skin betting included, you’re free to do so safely.
Despite its close proximity to the Isle of Man, gamers in the UK cannot engage in skins betting legally via a website licensed by the Isle of Man. This is because UK gambling laws prevent UK customers from signing up to and using gambling sites with overseas licenses. Therefore, in order to use a gambling site legally in the UK, it must have a UKGC license, which doesn’t include skin gambling.
UK eSports fans do have a clear alternative avenue however, as the UKGC has included eSports gambling for real money within the same rules and regulations as it has for traditional sports. As a UK customer, you can therefore place legal eSports bets inside the sportsbooks of the top UK licensed gambling sites as found in our eSports Betting Guide.
When skins betting first came about, its rapid rise and development was so fast that global governments and gambling regulators struggled to keep up. For starters, it went under their radar for so long, that by the time they were even aware of it, things were already out of control. Underage gamers were able to engage in skins betting, people were getting ripped off and the lack of official, regulated platforms meant that everything quickly moved into the back market.
Thankfully, this unregulated chaos is (mostly) all in the past, with the majority of governments and regulatory gambling bodies choosing to outlaw skin gambling all together. There are, of course, exceptions, with the most notable being the Isle of Man license, which chose to bring skins betting under its remit.
There are, as we alluded to above, a number of unregulated skin betting sites that we urge you to stay away from. Some of them might look legit and well put together, but we wouldn’t let that fool you. Not only is skin betting (or any form of betting for that matter) with unregulated sites illegal - you also cannot be assured that your funds and data are safe.
There are, however still some legal CS:GO skin betting sites as well as alternatives to skin betting and other eSports gambling avenues for you to explore. If you come from a gambling background but don’t know your eSports, or come from an eSports background but don’t know your gambling, you can check out our Guide to eSports Bookies for Beginners.
There are a number of CS:GO skin betting sites that still offer some form of legal skins betting. However, if you’re looking for a more general betting platform sites, such as Luckbox are your best bet. Luckbox holds an Isle of Man gambling license, which allows the operator to offer both skin betting and real money eSports betting. This, in our opinion, offers you the best of both worlds, as you don’t have to put all of your eggs in one basket.
The Isle of Man licensed site is available to customers in overseas countries including Canada, India and a handful of European nations. Some states in the US with legal sports wagering have chosen to include regulated skin betting within their rules. Given the constantly changing landscape though, there’s always a small risk even with legal sites as Valve are under pressure and could end up having to contact a site and freeze their operations.
The best alternatives to skins betting is simply to bet legally and safely on eSports using real money. It may come as a surprise to hear that real money betting is safer than betting virtual items from within a game, but the regulations and the rules are far more set in stone. What's more, you can place real money bets on eSports via trusted global betting brands including Bet365, 888sport and William Hill. UK Customers might want to consider looking at PuntGG and other such sites. Odds can be a little different to traditional sports betting though, but you can check out our guide on how read eSports betting odds.
While there are legal avenues that allow you to engage in CS:GO skins betting relatively safely, we still recommend approaching with caution. As we mentioned, the landscape is constantly changing and therefore, it is likely even the remaining legal operators will pose too much of a risk to Valve and the entire future of CSGO as an eSport. There is also the change they could get it under control as well.
However, until we have some certainty, our advice is to bet on eSports legally using real money with a trusted and reputable licensed operator.
CS:GO bet skins have faced huge problems between 2016 and 2022. While many governments and gambling regulatory bodies have now sorted their house out and regulated it, many have chosen simply to outlaw it. It therefor really depends where you are - which you can find out with us here at Strafe.
Depends where you are, but generally speaking a lot of governments and regulators have taken a hard line on skins gambling - more so than real money sports betting. This isn’t the case everywhere and there is still a possibility of getting a legal license for this. Check out or skin betting guide for more information.
There are some, however the majority are unregulated and should be avoided. That being said the Isle of Man gambling license does include skin gambling with CS:GO and a few site are lucky enough to have this license. Find out about this and alternatives in our eSports betting guide at Strafe.