ACMA takes aim at website providing gambling services for Counter-Strike ‘skins’

ACMA takes aim at website providing gambling services for Counter-Strike ‘skins’

A website that was found to be providing interactive gambling services called CS:GO Roll has been pulled offline in Australia following an investigation from the communications and media regulator.

The website’s owner, Feral Holdings Limited, has also been given a formal warning following the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation, which determined CS:GO Roll was providing casino-style online games in which players could obtain ‘skins’ for virtual in-game items.

Casino-style online games are illegal in Australia under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 if the games are played for money or anything else of value. In CS:GO Roll’s case, the site allowed users to deposit ‘skins’ from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in exchange for in-game coins that could be used to gamble on casino-style games.

Winnings from CS: GO Roll would then be paid out in the form of skins, which could be converted into real money using third-party platforms.

Counter-Strike is notorious for the exorbitant amount of real-world money some weapon skins can attract. In-game item marketplace DMarket, which facilitates the trade of Counter-Strike skins as well as other cosmetic virtual items for games like Dota 2, Rust and Team Fortress 2, currently has hundreds of weapon skins available for thousands of dollars a pop.

In fact, as reported by PC Gamer, one particular virtual weapon was sold in April for around USD$400,000 (AUD$602,000), with almost half of the value of the weapon attributed to the ‘stickers’ placed on the digital AK-47.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said gambling sites must follow Australian gambling laws, even if they used virtual items instead of traditional currency.

“Providing casino-style games online is prohibited in Australia when playing for money or something of value, whether that’s Australian dollars, cryptocurrency or in this case, online gaming skins,” O’Loughlin said.

“Skins gambling services are particularly concerning as they tap into a youth market and have the potential to convert gamers into gamblers.”

ACMA has issued Feral Holdings with a formal warning for contravening Australian gambling laws.

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