UK Gambling Commission to Monitor eSports and Bitcoin

Mike P. - July 22, 2016

Bitcoin and eSports skin betting are still new in online gambling online, which is why the UK Gambling Commission plans to monitor them.

The UK has long been one of the most popular and heavily active online gambling markets in the world. For years, British residents have encountered gambling adverts and been among the first to experience groundbreaking innovations like mobile casinos and live dealers. Well, amidst the rise of eSports betting and Bitcoin casinos, the UK Gambling Commission will be analysing the function of both activities in the marketplace.

July 2015 Annual Report Published

When announcing its July 2016 annual report, CEO Sarah Harrison took the opportunity to reveal the regulators plans moving forward. Specifically, Harrison highlighted emerging products along with new digital currencies in her comments. At the time, Harrison revealed no current usage of Bitcoin at casino sites.

However, Harrison was able to shed more light on eSports, explaining that the betting act could potentially raise issues in regards of player protection and industry regulation. For some time now, UK residents have been able to place real-money stakes on eSports tournaments, but Harrison’s comments had a more direct purpose.

Skin Betting Sites

Specifically, Harrison used the opportunity to bring up the act of trading in-game items between eSports players. She explained that such transactions “blur the lines” when it comes to social gaming and online gambling.

The reason for even bringing it up is that there are now US lottery sites where players can essentially gamble for such digital items. As a concept, entering eSports lotteries for items is incredibly new, which means there is a lack of knowledge in the market. For reference, the term given to define the sites is skin betting.

Recently, the ethics of skin betting were called into question when CounterStrike: Global Offensive players shared YouTube videos to promote sites while not revealing they owned them. CS developer Valve has since cracked down on third-party access to the game, but now the Gambling Commission is figuring out the UK impact.



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