CS:GO Betting Sites

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Why CS:GO skin betting isn’t safe

The skin betting industry has been turned on its head after Valve announced that it would be attempting to shut down the market as it currently exists.

That has left people who regularly gamble on skins at sites like CSGOLounge without an outlet for the activity. So, if you still want to put money down on esports like CS:GO in the wake of the skin betting news, where can you do it?

Skin betting sites are shutting down – what’s next for CS:GO betting sites? Here are a few of the frequently asked questions about Valve shutting down csgo skin betting sites.

What happened to skin betting?

The skin betting industry has begun to unravel almost quickly as it ascended. Wagering on skins grew exponentially in 2015, becoming an industry where billions of dollars changed hands.

But 2016 brought a new dynamic, with increased scrutiny of what amounted to an unregulated gambling industry. The industry largely existed in its own bubble until Bloomberg did a piece on skin betting that brought mainstream attention.

In the wake of the new scrutiny, scandals emerged, such as owners gambling on their own sites and at least one gambler who was told the outcome of bets ahead of time.

All of that led to Valve to announce in July its intention to stop skin betting sites that use its API. A letter from Valve soon surfaced in which it asked nearly two dozen sites to cease and desist. (Valve had recently been the subject of a class action lawsuit, which may be the reason for its reaction.)

The Valve action has led to sites shutting down, either permanently or temporarily, while weighing their options for continued operation.

How can I bet safely on esports?

The best way to wager on esports — in an entirely legal, regulated environment — is via licensed sportsbooks.

Ladbrokes, Betway, Bet365 and William Hill all offer betting on a number of esports, such as League of Legends and Dota2.

Using a skin betting site, currently, is a matter of trust; none of them are regulated nor have any oversight beyond the sites’ owners. The aforementioned scandals are examples of things that are not going to happen at a licensed sportsbook. And, as a bonus, most major sports books now offer League of Legends betting, CSGO betting, Dota2 betting – in fact, coverage of esports titles has never been as comprehensive at regulated online sports books as it is today.

Sportsbooks such as the ones listed above often have to answer to a number of gambling authorities in different jurisdictions, and have to do things above board, lest they risk heavy fines or loss of a license.

Your money is perfectly safe on those sites, and it isn’t tied to any decision made by Valve, or by a skin betting site that could close up shop with little or no warning. You also get good customer service and round-the-clock access to your account balance, two things that generally don’t exist at skin betting sites.

Is skin betting likely to make a return?

In the wake of the Valve announcement, it’s not clear that the skin betting industry will continue to exist as it has in recent years, or at all.

Valve has obviously asked most skin gambling sites to stop using Steam to facilitate transactions, and its latest letter makes it appear to be serious about the effort.

However, it still might come down to a matter of enforcement, and how serious Valve is about stopping sites. Valve could just be using its public statements for cover against any possible future action, and it has no intention of following through with its demand.

In that scenario, skin betting could still exist, for operators willing to risk the consequences. (It would also pose a risk to players depositing skins, in this hypothetical world.)

If Valve does enforce its demands, then skin betting could just dry up entirely.

Since some skin gambling sites have said they are shutting down “temporarily,” there is a theory that skin betting will return with some sort of work-around. That could from a third-party skin marketplace like OPSkins, which noted that it is not targeted by Valve.

But until the skin betting market becomes settled, cash esports betting and fantasy esports are a better way to go for esports enthusiasts looking to have a monetary interest in their favorite games.

Can I still bet on esports?

If you are outside the United States, the answer is likely yes. Although you will need to use real money esports betting sites instead of skin betting sites.

Best real money CS:GO betting site?

We suggest Betway.

New players at Betway will receive a special $5 dollar no deposit bet! Betway esports allows you to wager on your favorite CSGO matches for real money.

Claim your $5 dollar no deposit bet at Betway

I am in the US and want to wager on esports

You can not legally use any of the real money esports betting sites from the United States.

CS:GO – Popular ways to bet

CS:GO has arguably the most developed system of betting of any esport. There are three types of bets that CS:GO supports: real money bets, play money bets, and in-game item bets.

Many online sportsbooks like Betway, Bet365, and Ladbrokes offer traditional, real money bets for CS:GO. These are typical wagers that include betting on the match victor at predetermined odds. In addition to match betting, bettors can expect to see “tournament outright” bets when tournaments take place.

Skin betting is an interesting form of betting for CS:GO players and bettors alike, and until recently it was considered reasonably safe. However, CS:GO producer Valve has gotten in legal trouble for its support of these possibly-illegal gambling sites and they might not last much longer. We highly recommend wagering on CS:GO at the regulated, legal gambling sites featured on this site.

CS:GO match betting

Match betting is a major part of the esports betting economy. As the name implies, match betting involves placing a bet on the outcome of an esports match. While there are a number of ways that such bets can be arranged, the most common way is a simple bet placed on the team or player to win an individual match.

Since most matches are not considered to be dead-even events – usually one team or player is favored over another – esports match betting sites will usually assign some odds to both sides of the match. Let’s imagine a match between Liquid and Team Solo Mid where TSM is favored to win. A typical line for a match like this might place the odds on TSM at 2-1 (for every two dollars in skin value you wager, you would win one dollar if TSM emerged victorious).

Sometimes you’ll see these odds expressed as a +/- money line for esports matches. Let’s take our Liquid vs TSM example above. As Liquid is the underdog, you might see a line for betting on Liquid expressed as +200 – meaning you would win $200 for every $100 in skins you wagered. For the favorite, the line is usually negative. So the line on TSM might be -200, meaning you would need to wager $200 in order to win $100.

esports match betting is conducted both in skins and in case, meaning you have the option to chose between sites that allow you to wager skins on the outcome of an esports match and sites that allow you to place traditional cash wagers on a wide variety of esports events. Both formats are growing quickly, and both offer coverage of nearly every major esports event. Smaller and regional events may be harder to find, and for the niche esports or mid-tier events, you’ll probably find more coverage at skin match betting sites as opposed to cash-based bookmakers like bet365 and betway.

Match betting is becoming an increasingly popular and sophisticated option for esports bettors. As more and more sites offer esports match betting, the types and amount of available bets continue to increase – as do the amounts of money and skins involved. We’ve seen matches where hundreds of thousands – if not over a million dollars – in skins have been wagered on just a single match.

Esports Match Betting Option Basics

There are two ways to bet on esports.


Outcome betting is a simple gamble, who will win a given match? Team/Player A or Team/Player B? This is the type of betting that is more beginner-friendly, as it requires only enough knowledge to know who should win on average.


Proposition betting, also known as prop/parlay betting, requires significantly more understanding of a given match. To bet on propositions with some success you need to know both Team A and Team B thoroughly and be able to estimate result in detail. The idea behind a prop bet is that it will give odds for specific results.

For example, a match is a best-of-five games to decide the winner. A proposition bet on this might be ¨Team B wins 3-0 games played¨, possibly shown as “Team B wins, handicap -2 games” or “Team A loses, handicap +2 games”. It can be phrased any way, just understand the final result that the proposition bet actually wants when making a bet.

Proposition betting should be approached the same as normal betting completely and sometimes can be even more profitable if you really can understand the given teams of a match.

Mathematics and Betting Odds

Now, it’s not as simple as “double your money if you’re right”. Esports bookkeepers calculate something known as Odds.

Odds are the mathematical calculations of what a bettor gets when he/she wins a bet. Most sites display odds as >1.00, this is because the odds are a multiplier towards the amount you bet and you are guaranteed back your amount bet. So, a 1.25 odds with a $100 bet will yield $125 total, a $25 profit. 2.00 odds on a $100 bet will yield $200, a 100$ profit, and so on.

Odds determine whether or not betting on a match is really worth it. The idea behind this is that, based upon what research is done on both teams, you make your own set of odds. This set of odds you make is your own “real odds”, while the odds on a given site is the profit margin.

For example, Team A vs Team B and the returns on the site odds are, assuming no house cut, 1.50 to 3.00, Team A will win 66% of the time basically. However, you determine the real odds, after researching or based on prior knowledge, to be 2.00 to 2.00, as in each team will win 50% of the time.

Theoretically, betting Team B would be profitable in this case. Over 100 games, based on the “real odds” and 100 $1 bets, Team B will win 50 games, +$100, and lose 50 games, -$50. While betting on Team A will result in +$25 from 50 wins and -$50 from 50 losses. On average, Team B will result in +$50 and Team A would be unprofitable at -$25, under the assumption your “real odds” are accurate.

Bet Sizing, Math and Kelly Criterion

Betting on average profit and margins between house odds and “real odds” is the general idea to profitable betting. However, this does not tell you how much you should actually bet on a match as a single instances is not the same as an averaged 100 matches, one match can have many more unpredicted circumstances and so it is important to limit risk.

There is investment theory known as the Kelly Criterion that determines optimal bet sizing. Due to its complex nature, the following is a simplified formula:

Bet Size = ((Net Odds X Win % in Decimal) – (1 – Win % in Decimal)/(Net Odds)) X 100

Net Odds mean the actual value of profit, not including the original bet value, it is the almost always the “Given Odds-1”

Assume the Given Odds are 3.33 and chance to win is ⅖

Bet Size = ((2.33*0.40) – (0.60/2.33)) X 100 = 67.44% Bet

Now, a single match having nearly 68% of your bankroll on it is very risky, as mathematical calculations by an individual can never be fully correct and there is still a 1 in 3 chance that a single instance will result in a loss even if it is fully accurate.

Since this is generally the case with Kelly results, it is important to determine how much of the Kelly Bet Size you think is appropriate to eliminate unnecessary risk based on bankroll and objective thinking. Consider factors like how far off your “real odds” are compared to the house’s odds when making bet sizing.

Many veterans use the Kelly Criterion + a constant to limit risk. For example, they would take ⅓ or ¼ of the Kelly Criterion suggested bet size. The idea of risk that is being generated is due to the nature of an individual having a finite bankroll, going bust is always a strong possibility and it is only exasperated by Kelly’s large percentage suggestions.

Sidenote: Kelly can also be used for specific proposition bets, just substitute in the proper information.

Making your Own esports Betting Odds

As discussed in a previous section, there is generally a difference between the house’s odds and the “real odds”. To create your own real odds, you must have a grasp of certain concepts.

Simplify variables that will affect the odds. This is an important skill, as most games have a large number of undetermined variables, each weighing on the odds differently.

For example, CSGO has a “map pool” as in, there are 7 unique maps that heavily affect the abilities of every team. Some teams may be amazing at one map while others do not even know how to play it. For a Best-of-3 match between Team A and Team B, the 3 maps selected to play will have a heavy impact in who will win. So, predicting maps played would be a significant variable.

However, something like an Offline event (LAN) vs Online event, may affect only a few teams and slightly at that. Thus, it’s a non-issue and not considered in creating odds for most matches.

Being able to create simplified lists of variables can help you gauge your “real odds” more efficiently.

Research. It has been briefly mentioned several times, but knowledge is possibly the most important item. Research heavily factors into the variables at play as well as the overall odds. Sometimes breaking news like an injury on a team’s player or last-minute stand-in for a player is announced, that’s considered research and greatly changes the effectiveness of a team.

It’s also important to note for researching to have an understanding of both immediate and historical results. Historically, a team might be very good, but recently have suffered internal issues, injuries, etc. and have looked lackluster. Such an observation is important in creating odds.

All teams are gauged relatively to each other. Thus, it’s important to create your own understanding of these teams and how they relate, finding resources like tournament placements, past results, or Video-On-Demands (VODs)/watching teams live will give you a rough idea of their ability to play compared to their opponent, and so the more teams you are aware of the more you can compare them all relatively to each other to create at least a basic grasp of who would win purely on skill or ability.

Being able to make accurate statements based on research is crucial and will generally allow you to make somewhat accurate odds, especially those for proposition bets of a certain result. More accurate than otherwise at least, and it will result in greater chance of success for betting.

Thus, by these two major concepts, you can make your own odds. The judgement is entirely an individual’s to make and their success is based upon these fundamentals for making accurate assumptions of the odds. Whether someone is aware or not, these concepts are always at play and being able to develop a sense of average wins in 100 matches or the strength of Team X’s individual players or any other factor can make and break you.

Getting an edge with CS:GO match betting

Knowledge is power in CS:GO betting and any other esport for that matter. Below is a short list of advice on how to place smarter bets on CS:GO:

  • Become a player – playing the game is a very efficient means of increasing your knowledge of CS:GO. Once players become familiar with the game, they become aware of how and why teams are successful and can use their findings to their advantage by going to the esports bookmakers.
  • Scout players – CS:GO is one of the most watched games on the internet, and the most watched video game on television (by default, because it’s the first televised esport). Twitch.tv provides lot of live streams, and YouTube is filled with links to previous tournament showings in case bettors want to catch up on missed action.
  • Live tournaments and rebroadcasts (VODs) can be a great learning tools for bettors, as commentators and analysts who have often studied the game and followed the competitive scene for several years are present to provide users with facts and observations that are hard to come by.

CSGO jackpot and casino sites

Jackpot sites are arguably the most popular form of skin betting. Jackpot games are incredibly simple affairs, and that simplicity may be part of the reason why they are so popular.

The mechanics of jackpot games aren’t difficult to grasp – anyone with experience with a lottery or wheel of fortune will appreciate how jackpot skin betting games work. But for those who aren’t familiar with those types of gambling games, here’s an example of how a typical jackpot game works at a skin betting site.

All of the players in the jackpot game contribute some amount of skins to the pot. Based on the value of the skins, the player will be assigned a number of tickets. Let’s say you contribute a skin worth $10 – in most jackpot games you would receive one ticket for every .01 of value that your skin had according to current market value. So your skin would be worth 1000 tickets in the jackpot. This process would repeat for every player that deposited a skin into the pool.

Usually the jackpot game will start when a predetermined number of skins has been deposited. A common target number is 50. Your chances of winning are generally a function of the amount of tickets you have relative to the total size of the pot. So if the total value of skins deposited into the pot was $1000, and you deposited $10 worth of skins, you would have a 1% chance of winning (1000 tickets out of 1,000,000).

When the threshold number of skins is reached, the jackpot wheel spins, and a winner is determined via random draw. Some jackpot sites will show a wheel with the avatars of all players around the outside of the wheel, which suggests that all players have an equal chance of winning. That’s not the case, even if it appears so visually. The chances of winning are a function of how much you’ve contributed to the entire pot. Whoever wins claims the entire pot of skins, less some percentage kept by the site as a fee.

Below are some of the more popular game types for CS:GO jackpot and casino-style betting sites.

CSGO Roulette

This method has a higher chance of making profit for the user. The basic idea is the same as the Casino room, bet on Black, Red, or Green and take those odds for the choices in a simple format. Customers of these kinds of sites can use methods to make guaranteed profits by exploiting the algorithm, and in the end, ending up with little amounts of loss, or high amounts of profits. Sites like these are also endorsed by the CSGO community,


This is not like the traditional 2 dice roll, from the possible numbers 2-12. In this system, you have a slider, that goes from 0.01 to 100.00. The slider can be put on any value in that range and that acts as your limit, and the way to win money is by getting a “dice” roll as less than the slider limit you set. The smaller the chance you have of winning, the higher multiplier you will get for your reward, as you input as much money as you want. If you put your slider at 99.99, your multiplier with be at x1, which gives you 0 profit, and some people take chance by setting it really low, at 5. But, majority of people set it to 50/50 for a x2 multiplier, which is the best way to make profit.

CSGO Coin Flip Sites

Coin Flips are more or less a 50/50 chance at winning double the money you put in. This is pure luck. Heads or tails luck. One or two luck. You deposit your skins on the site and then you wait until someone duels you or you can duel an already existing lobby. It’s for the thrill of gambling.

CSGO Unique or Special Case Sites

Rather than betting your skins in a pot or turning your skins into a currency that you can use to gamble on roulette spins, you can buy “cases” for real money. Not in reference to Valve cases, where you need an official Valve key to open, these are from third party websites. These “cases” are filled with a number of different skins for one weapon or rarity, all of roughly the same value. They are priced to profitability by the average value of items in the “case”. When a customer buys one of these “cases”, it rolls for a skin. There is a high chance that they rolled for some profit, but there is a significant chance to roll poorly, and lose money. So, sites that sell this type of gambling game really make money from the continual use of packs, as the costs due to profiteering buyers are offset by the buyers who use the losing “cases”.

What is the math behind the different CSGO Casino types?

There are different types of systems to run these sites. Jackpot, lottery, packs, coin flip, and dice all use percentage chance to figure out who the winner will be. The more money you put in, the higher chance you will have to win, simple.

Roulette has a more complicated algorithm. It’s called Provably Fair. This means that the users “cannot manipulate the outcome of any roll.” Each roll is random, no matter the amount of money put on whatever color or number to win.

Sites make money off of cuts from each betting round for all of the different types of Casino gambling, excluding the Special Case System. This cut percentage can be minor or major, but allow the site to be successful no matter what player wins.

The math is quite simple for the owners of the websites to work out for their profit, and that is why there is such an abundance of different sites to gamble your skins.

Fantasy esports

Fantasy esports is a relatively new way for esports fans to bet on matches. As opposed to match betting, fantasy esports doesn’t involve picking which team will win an esports event, but rather involves you creating a team of players who are participating in a given event. Your team receives a score based on the individual performances of the players that you’ve drafted, and you compete against other teams drafted by other fans to see who can field the team with the highest total score.

Scoring for the players on your team is usually determined by their individual achievements within a given match – for example, you might receive points when your LoL player makes a kill, draws first blood, takes down the Dragon or destroys the inhibitor. The scoring systems vary from site to site, so be sure to review the individual scoring system for each particular esports before drafting your team.

Like match betting, fantasy esports can be bet on using skins or using cash.

Fantasy esports is arguably one of the smallest verticals in the esports betting universe; match betting has far more action, as do jackpot sites. But despite the fact that fantasy esports is a niche product, it still attracts a very loyal and engaged fan base. Fantasy esports provides fans with a unique way to interact with esports matches, giving them a reason to root for individual players and individual performances as opposed to simply rooting for one team to win or one team to lose.

Fans also enjoy fantasy esports due to the depth of analysis that can be involved in drafting the best possible team. The activity of assembling and analyzing stats around a particular game and particular player is a satisfying one for fans who enjoy being immersed in a game beyond the level of simply viewing it. That aspect of fantasy esports likely ensures that, while the product may not reach the lofty popularity of jackpot sites, it will remain a small but critical part of the esports betting ecosystem for years to come.

Free betting sites

Free betting on esports is not so much a distinct product as a variation on existing ways to bet on esports. You can find free versions of esports match betting, esports jackpot betting, and fantasy esports at a variety of sites.

There are a number of ways that sites manage free betting on esports, but the most popular is simply for the site to offer some kind of internal currency – for example, Unikoins at Unikrn – that cannot be purchased, but is given away to users. Users then employ that internal currency to place bets, and winning bets are rewarded with more of the internal currency.

Generally speaking, the currency doesn’t have any value. Some sites will hold raffles for games, hardware, skins, or other goodies that can be entered with the currency, so you do have the opportunity to get some value if you play smart with your free bets. But usually the point of free betting sites is for players to learn the ropes and get comfortable with the concept of betting on esports, or simply to play for fun in order to develop their acumen, win bragging rights among their friends, or keep track of how good of an esports handicapper they really are.

Free betting sites are not always standalone products – in many cases, sites that offer free bets on esports will also offer a real-money betting product alongside the free one. The great thing about free betting in these cases is that you can basically “try before you buy” – play on the site for the free bets and see if you enjoy the interface and the games before depositing skins or real money and betting with those.

CS:GO – Game background

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, more frequently referred to by the acronym CS:GO, is a first-person shooter by Valve Corporation which is available for multiple platforms and known largely for its extended history as a series of PC shooting games.

It is the sequel to the decade-plus-old Counter-Strike: Source, which paved the way for many of today’s most popular first-person shooters. Despite its age, the dated version of Counter-Strike still has a loyal following of its own.

In terms of esports betting, CS:GO leads the way with multiple types of wagers for bettors to make. In addition to real-money wagering, players can bet in-game cosmetic items, or “skins,” which can be bought or sold for real money. Valve has cracked down on some gambling sites which allow for gambling of these skins, but some sites are still operating – but perhaps not for long.

How CS:GO is played

CS:GO is a traditional first-person shooter with an objective focus instead of straightforward slaying. The two teams assume the roles of terrorist or counter-terrorist in order to defeat the opponent, which adds to the game’s militant themes.

Matches are essentially a best-of-30 series, with the first team to win 16 rounds emerging as the victor; after 15 rounds, the team swap roles from terrorist to counter-terrorist or vice versa.

When playing the terrorist side, the objective is to place and detonate a bomb at one of two potential locations. The counter-terrorists defend against the terrorists’ assault, and have 35 seconds to defuse the bomb in the event that it gets armed. Failure results in a lost round.

Because there is an opportunity to defuse the bomb, the match in not one-sided in terms of who plays offense and defense. The counter-terrorists are essentially forced into playing offense if their defensive attempt is thwarted.

Though CS:GO is clearly an objective-focused game, there is the option to win by slaying the enemy. If all members of either team are killed, the round goes to the surviving team. This is a common route to victory because respawning is not enabled.

Tournament setups often alter the 30-round setup, adding a best-of-three aspect to it. Tournament advancement depends on which side wins 16 rounds twice out of three potential chances.

The following aspects of CS:GO add to its identity as a hardcore shooter when compared to other current FPS titles like Overwatch, Halo, and Paladins:

  • The lack of a respawn feature forces players to capitalize on their one chance per round to make an impact.
  • Each player controls a character that’s fully equal to the others for the sake of balance.
  • There is no hit point regeneration. All damage is final.
  • There are no bonus effects for playing well.
  • All movement is on foot. No vehicles can assist either side with their objectives.
  • Overall, it’s much easier to die than many other contemporary first-person shooters.