Skin Gambling: How fun turned into a menace

Everything big and truly promising has a vulnerability of catching onto inhibitors for its growth, the gaming and esports industry is no stranger to this risk. The revenue in the esports market touched $1 billion in 2019 for the first time with a viewership of around 400 million that is expected to surge past 550 million by 2021. This is a prominent sign of how the industry is thriving with leaps and folds. But when a sports industry has so many viewers and an upward revenue graph, there are certain unethical behaviours bound to creep in.

What is Skin Gambling?

One such practice is popularly known as ‘skin gambling’. To understand this term, it is important to be familiar with the term ‘Skin’.

A skin is a graphic or audio file used to change the graphic or audio interface of the game. These are just visual elements and unlike the best casino bonuses on gaming websites, they have nothing more than a cosmetic effect in the game and no direct influence on the gameplay.

The practice of ‘Skin Gambling’ primarily began with “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.” ‘Valve’ introduced skins as rewards that could be applied and shared with other players, to grow and bolster the community. What was started as a reward system and community tool, soon grew out to become an industry virility and a market of its own. At the beginning, there was ‘Steam Marketplace’ to trade, buy and sell skins from inventories for real or digital currencies and the marketplace had restrictions to maintain ethics. But in some time, there were websites that began bypassing the monetary restrictions by Steam to allow higher-value trades for skins. They even enabled betting and gambling on professional matches later on. This practice seeped into other gaming communities as well and it grew so huge that in 2016, there was around $5 billion worth of virtual goods handled, at that point of time. Yes, that is five times more the entire esports revenue in 2019.

The Cause of Concern

Soon, this whole charade caught the criticism from communities and scrutiny from authorities. Concerns were raised over the ethical and moral grounds of this practice. Betting for obvious reasons has outcomes like result manipulation and unauthorized bid placements. Even though it rocketed the growth of video game communities, it was condemned by developers of the games and even took actions to curb them.

The cause of concern with gambling is the long term effect it has on the people and the industry. The majority of the consumers in the esports industry are fairly young people and exposure to such practices tends to develop behaviour and expectations that are not in sync with the general world. Gambling also tarnishes the spirit of the game, be it any game and especially the one, where players are underage for even legal betting. With esports players being young and of impressionable age, there is a disturbingly great chance of them falling on to the wrong side of the line, just to get big benefits in a short time.

Controversy and conclusion

This practice is identified as an industry plagued by people and authorities. It violates various local laws on gambling and sports betting, with young people across the globe falling prey to it. There are several legal sanctions on ‘Skin gambling’ in many countries. Especially in the UK, where the Gambling Commission led an investigation into ‘Skin gambling’ in 2017 and prosecuted two website owners for organizing and promoting underage gambling. According to their report, there were 11% kids between the age of 11-16 years involved in ‘Skin Gambling’. The UK government is adamant on stalling this unlawful practice with its actions and seeks support from parents as well as video game companies.

Blu-ray Review “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood”

Starring: Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Kim Wayans, Vivica A. Fox, Omar Epps
Director: Paris Barclay
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: July 5, 2011
Run Time: 94 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

When this film was released back in 1996 (can’t believe it’s been 16 years) I was draw to this film just for the title. Then I found out that the Wayans Brothers were behind it and I was hooked. I was a huge fan of “In Living Color” and was looking for the next best thing. This film was surly it. I still to this day can recite this film from beginning to end. In the early days of the internet back in ’96 I used to watch this trailer over and over and yet there are funny parts still in the film, which is rare these days. With the Wayans Brothers returning to theaters this January with “A Haunted House”, this is a great time to revisit this great spoofs from the creators of “Scary Movie”. I should also note that Echo Bridge did a solid by also releasing this film in its director’s cut. Should I also add that I still have this soundtrack on cassette? Too late.

Official Premise: From the creator of TV’s “In Living Color,” this outrageous comedy hit had critics and audiences roaring with laughter! From block parties and beepers to high tops and high-powered weapons, it’s everything that’s funny about growing up in the ‘hood…the Wayans Brothers’ neighborhood, that is! Marlon, Shawn (TV’s The Wayans Brothers) and Keenen Ivory Wayans (TV’s In Living Color) get together and deliver a series of hilarious situations that all move to a hot hit soundtrack! Get ready for a good time, because there are plenty of laughs in this neighborhood!

This release looks surprisingly damn good on Blu-ray, even though it is only presented in 1080i resolution. The audio track makes up for it though with a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The special features aren’t jam packed but hey, at least there are special features included. There is a short deleted scene called “Interrogation”. There is a very sort featurettes called “Wayans Brothers Behind the Scenes”, which is just the brothers chatting about the film. “Hood Movie Gumbo” is more behind-the-scenes with cast and crew mixed with film clips, but it is just too short. Lastly there is a music video for “All the Things Your Man Won’t Do”. What I find odd is that the special features are in full 1080p, when the film is only 1080i. For the cheap price though this is a must have for fans of the Wayans Brothers.

Darth Maul Returns for “Star Wars: Clone Wars” and First Poster for “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace in 3D”

Darth Maul returns to the Star Wars Saga this spring!

Darth Maul, the sinister Sith Lord who amped up the dark side in 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, returns to the Saga this spring in Star Wars: The Clone Wars!

Revered by fans for his striking red and black tattooed-face, graceful but lethal fighting style, and signature double-bladed lightsaber, Maul was believed killed by Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi at the end of Episode I. In the Star Wars universe, however, one must never underestimate the power of the dark side!

“The decision to continue Darth Maul’s story was something that came directly from George,” says Dave Filoni, Supervising Director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. “We all agreed that his return needed to be unique, unexpected and revenge filled. We don’t know what his outcome will be, and as a fan – that’s exciting.”

While fans await Darth Maul’s return to The Clone Wars, they’ll soon be able to experience the excitement of his original introduction to the Star Wars Saga when Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace is released in theaters on February 10, 2012 in spectacular 3D!

The trailer for Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace in 3D will be attached to The Three Musketeers on October 21st and on select films throughout the holidays.