Oct 5 2016 - 8:58 pm

CS:GO skin gambling comes under fire in Washington state

Skin gambling in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive may become a thing of the past in one U
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports

Skin gambling in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive may become a thing of the past in one U.S. state, as the Washington State Gambling Commission has asked developer Valve “to stop facilitating the use of ‘skins’ for gambling activities through its Steam Platform.”

The Washington State Gambling Commission, which was founded in 1973, acts as a gaming control board for the state of Washington and is tasked with enforcing gambling regulations and laws within the state.

The commission’s news release adds that it “expects Valve to take whatever actions are necessary to stop third party websites from using ‘skins’ for gambling through its Steam Platform system,” which includes “preventing these sites from using their accounts and ‘bots’ to facilitate gambling transactions.”

The topic of skin betting has been one of the most talked about subjects in esports throughout 2016. In July, several prominent CS:GO streamers and YouTubers failed to disclose that they were closely affiliated with third-party skin gambling sites, which they also actively advertised to their respective, often young, fanbases.

Besides the conflict of interest, these individuals were also aware of the betting outcomes on the sites, and essentially projected an unrealistic representation of how the gambling sites functioned. In the wake of these scandals, Valve was served with two class-action lawsuits, which prompted it to issue nearly two dozen cease and desist letters to some of the biggest skin gambling sites in the world. If Valve agrees to comply with the commission’s terms, it is possible that more states could ask Valve to stop skin betting in their jurisdiction. Exactly how Valve would go about prohibiting users from specific states from accessing this service in the Steam client is currently unknown.

Valve has until Oct. 14 to respond to the commission’s inquiry, and is now tasked with proving how its current handling of skin gambling is compliant with Washington law, or “it will risk having the Gambling Commission take additional civil or criminal action against the company.”

Jan 20 2017 - 9:49 pm

IEM Katowice’s CS:GO tournament is going to be awesome

The final two invites went out today, and the tournament's guaranteed to be exciting.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Fragbite

The final two teams to be invited to one of the year's biggest events have been announced.

FaZe Clan and Danish soccer club FC Copenhagen's esports venture, North, will be attending IEM Katowice's Counter-Strike: Global Offensive finals from Mar. 1-5, ESL announced today. The teams, which showed impressive form towards the end of 2016 at multiple international LAN events, will be competing against some of the best teams in the world.

The two teams are also the last to receive invitations to the event, as four teams will be added after a series of online qualifiers. In total, three more European teams will be attending IEM Katowice, as well as one North American team. With an already-stacked ensemble of teams ready to attend, such as Brazil's SK Gaming, Polish hometown heroes Virtus Pro, and Denmark's top team Astralis, the four teams that will be advancing through the online qualifiers will be making an already-competitive event all the more fierce.

In October 2016, the current North roster, which was signed to Dignitas at the time, took home the $500,000 EPICENTER event in Moscow. Aside from being one of the biggest events of the year, it had all the top teams in the world in attendance. Since then, however, North has struggled to live up to the expectations placed upon them, and have recently fallen short at nearly all events they have attended since.

The opposite can be said about FaZe, since the team picked up former Astralis in-game leader Finn "Karrigan" Andersen. Since Karrigan's arrival, FaZe have had their best results since the team's inception, and have looked stronger at each event they have attended.

Taking place roughly one month after the ELEAGUE Major, which begins on Jan. 22, IEM Katowice will likely be the debut tournament of several new rosters—so make sure to keep an eye on what could be one of the biggest CS:GO events of the year.

Jan 18 2017 - 10:32 pm

OpTic, Cloud9 join line-up for IEM Katowice

With only half of the CS:GO teams in place, the event is already looking stacked.
Sam Nordmark
Writer at @dotesports
Photo via Fragbite

Less than two weeks after the first Valve Major of the year, some of the strongest teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be making their way to Katowice for a shot at yet another impressive $250,000 prize pool.

North American elite squads OpTic Gaming and Cloud9 will be joining the previously invited teams at IEM Katowice from March 1-5, ESL announced today. The two North American teams will make an already-stacked event all the more competitive, as reigning Valve Major champions SK Gaming—alongside Ninjas in Pyjamas, Astralis, and Virtus Pro—have already been invited to attend.

OpTic and Cloud9 shocked the world towards the end of 2016, each taking home one international LAN tournament each. Cloud9's performance was particularly impressive. Their victory at the ESL Pro League Season 4 finals last October was the first international LAN victory for the North American region in nearly 11 years.

While these teams alone make the event stacked, they are only half of the teams that will be competing at IEM Katowice, as 12 teams in total will be fighting for the title. Two more teams are still slated to be invited, while an additional three teams from Europe and one more North American team secure their participation at the event through online qualifiers.

CS:GO is off to a hot start in 2017, and with more skilled teams around than ever before IEM Katowice is looking to become one of the most anticipated events of the year.