Rahul Sood, July 14, 2016

Valve Shuts Down Skin Gambling - Now What?

It was only a matter of time before skin gambling, which came to a head over the past few months, forced Valve’s hand. Yesterday we found out Valve took a stance against their digital weapons being used as currency for “gambling sites”.

Unikrn has been vocal advocates against underage gambling, and more specifically the skin gambling marketplaces and streamers who are essentially misleading their fan-base to participate on these illegitimate websites.

It was also great to see Twitch announce that their streamers cannot violate the terms of service from Valve. Up until now, many of their streamers have been misleading underage fans into losing money on the same sites.

As impressive as the growth of esports has been, we’re not invincible yet. We need to continue to find ways to do commerce with fans in order to fund the spectacular events and large prize pools that power our industry. But we need to do so in stable and legal ways to protect our future. We need to promote good operators and good community advocates, and work together to shut down people who rip the community off.  

Without a doubt the closure of these sites will create shock-waves. It’s apparent from the dialogue on Twitter that many in the industry also recognize the positive impacts skin wagering has had on viewership and funding.

At Unikrn we’ll continue offering responsible and regulated ways for fans to get engaged in the game while watching their favorite esports. We also stand behind the formation of regulatory bodies like the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC), and will remain focused on staying on the forefront of progress.

*Unikrn announces it is a founding member of the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC)*

Last week I was a guest on The Richard Lewis Show #16 where we discussed many of the recent controversies and options for a path forward.

Personally, I think shutting down these sites was the right thing to do, there is a reason regulation exists in our space. It exists to protect consumers while giving fans a safe and fun place to heighten the experience of watching or engaging in esports. It exists to prevent underage gambling – quite honestly many of these kids didn’t realize they were gambling.

As concerning as the state of affairs may seem at the moment, rest assured that this is a step in the right direction and Unikrn will remain at the forefront of bring legitimacy and stability to this space.

Rahul Sood

Rahul Sood is the CEO and Co-founder of Unikrn. Prior to founding Unikrn, Sood joined Microsoft in January of 2011. He created the first incubation fund for startups at Microsoft, and eventually Microsoft consolidated their global startup activities under Sood’s leadership. In June of 2013, he launched Microsoft Ventures. A serial entrepreneur, Sood spent 18 years in multiple startups prior to joining Microsoft. He founded luxury and gaming computer manufacturer VoodooPC, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in the fall of 2006. In his spare time Sood enjoys wakeboarding, paddleboarding, cycling, racing cars and spending time with his family.