As you grip the arm of your chair, tensely awaiting the results of the match, you can hardly take a breath. You think to yourself how you should have bet on the red team because they are appearing to be the clear winner.
The final seconds are counting down, and finally, at the last second, an unbelievable rocket shot comes from across the level, decimating the entire enemy team. Blue team wins! You almost fall out of your seat with excitement. That shot was amazing!
You can barely wait to check that wager you made! You begin logging onto the website, putting in your information, attempting to log into your account, and then you see the dreaded message of “Invalid account name/or password.” Wait, what?
You enter the information again, this time slowly and accurately to make sure that there are no mistakes when typing it out. You hit enter again only to see the same “Invalid account name/or password” message pop up again.
Ok, what is going on here? You think you must be missing something or typing your account information in the wrong way. You go to the “forgot password” menu and enter your email to get your account information sent to you. As you hit enter, a message pops up that there is no record of that email address on file.
You begin to shake as you start to realize what just happened. You got scammed, and all your items that you uploaded onto this website were now gone. All the signs were there, but you just never realized them until it was too late.
Today you will learn about how you can protect yourself against the shady world of skins betting scams, and those who wish to prey upon you.
As an esports bettor, it is important that you gather that type of knowledge, so you know what to look for when placing down a bet.
Understanding Skins Betting – Virtual or Real?
Skins betting is a grey area within the gambling world, because it does not necessarily use real money when placing down a wager. Skins are digital cosmetic items within games, and they do not hold a real value of their own.
Given this, people will still pay big bucks for them. Therefore, they can be valued at nothing by someone, while considered a fortune to another in a “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” sort of deal, if you want to think of it that way.
Whatever your personal beliefs on the value you would place on these virtual items is irrelevant, because they hold monetary value in some form or another to someone. Even though they are technically not physically real, they should be treated as if they are.
The loss of a virtual item that is worth thousands of dollars is just the same as funds getting withdrawn from your bank account. They are both just data, after all, and don’t become physical until you can withdraw hard cash that you can hold in your hand.
The main difference is that the data that is within your bank account belongs to you, while the virtual items are technically the property of the gaming company and their digital world. What that means is that, although you may possess a virtual item, you technically do not own it, as the data itself does not belong to you.
That does not mean you cannot profit on the third-party market with the sale of the virtual items, because people are more than willing to fork over big bucks for them. It is just important to understand that the items are not technically your property.
Scams Are Everywhere
For every legitimate gambling site out there, you can guess that there are plenty just looking to scam you out of money. Well, in this case, your hard-earned digital goodies. Many people find it difficult to understand whether what they are about to get involved with is a scam or not.
You wouldn’t fall for something so simple as, “Hey, look over there,” while I stick my hand in your pocket and remove your wallet. You wouldn’t let that happen, would you? No, you wouldn’t, because you know better. What about if I was performing a magic trick, though, and there were flashes of light and puffs of smoke?
When it is all over, that wallet is gone, and you have no idea how it even occurred. The whole concept of “magic” is based around keeping your mind distracted. Scams are just another form of illusionary magic, where you are distracted by the shiny objects and puffs of smoke.
They are not going to advertise, “Hey, this is a scam!” but rather offer promotions that are so difficult to pass up that you just need to try it. Spotting a scam is not always easy, because even though you may have that gut feeling telling you something is off, that little voice is saying, “But what if…”
That little voice gets us in trouble more often than any of us want to admit, but the whole concept of a great deal is hard to pass up. We see a too-good-to-be-true promotion as just that, and we can’t just let it go.
There is always a catch, and you should never think there isn’t. If that promotion is just so amazing that you decide to play the “what if” game, then be aware. You should make sure that you accept that whatever you are putting on the line can be a complete loss.
The most common video games associated with the skins betting market are CS: GO and DOTA 2, where sites will utilize the Steam interface. Simple skins scams work in a way that will allow you to deposit the items into your account from Steam, and then they are gone.
You will no longer be able to remove them from the account, and it is the same as you just handing those items to a stranger who won’t give them back. That is pretty much what just occurred, and you have very little recourse.
The Law Is Not That Helpful
Skins betting is technically not allowed in the first place, because it takes place in the third-party industry and not on the actual gaming platform. It is against the terms of service for most gaming companies, and if people get caught, they risk having account action taken against them.
Regardless, the skins industry is a huge and thriving goliath, whether it is permitted or not. Virtual items are still in the debatable phases of whether they count as money or not. Those involved with cryptocurrency face a similar circumstance where it can be accepted.
The difference when dealing with skins is that the value of them is not up to any financial market, but rather on what a person is willing to pay for them. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and those like it will have no value if that form of payment is not accepted.
For example, if legislation is put in place making the use of Bitcoin or other forms of cryptocurrency illegal in a specific country, then the digital money itself holds no actual value there. The value of cryptocurrency is based on where it is accepted.
That concept would not apply to the trade of virtual items, because they retain their value in the digital gaming worlds. Where cryptocurrencies are data based on currency, skins are cool virtual items such as swords and cosmetics to make people’s characters better or look cooler.
The market for virtual items will remain no matter what, since people have been paying for digital upgrades to their gaming avatars for close to two decades. Those who are involved in skins betting need to be aware that if they lose their items, they don’t necessarily have any way to recoup their losses.
Find the Red Flags
There are always red flags to locate if you look hard enough when trying to figure out if something is a scam or not. Do not get discouraged if they do not immediately pop out at you, since scams tend to hide in plain sight.
When trying to figure out what issues are present, you need to know what to seek. Think of it like pulling at a loose thread. One thread may not seem like such a big deal, but if you keep tugging it, everything will unravel.
Some great red flags to notice are whether the customer service is an automated bot program or an actual person. Most scam situations will involve an automated bot response and that can be a clear indication of whether it’s legit.
Another red flag that will stand out in a scam will be the payment options that are available. If there are no clear payment options that people can utilize to purchase skins or whatnot, this can be a huge indication that the site isn’t legit.
Finally, the best way to identify if a site is a scam or not is to look for reviews about it in their forums and other such review places. Many within the gaming communities look out for one another and will attempt to identify if a site is a scam or not as quickly as possible. When in doubt, seek advice.
There are many scams out there, and tons of them lurk within the digital world that we inhabit daily. As individuals involved in the esports world, it is important that we understand the risks that are out there, and we keep our guard up.
Skins betting can be a lucrative form of gambling which allows us to use virtual items which we may not have as much attachment to as our funds in the bank. That does not mean we should be negligent.
It is important to remember that when things seem to be such a great deal that we can’t possibly pass it up, there is likely more involved than we might realize. Understanding the risks that we face is in our best interest if we want to keep ourselves protected from the constant dangers that are all around us.
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