They announced the pendulous pivot in an update post:
“Today we are announcing that we are closing our virtual items betting functionality with immediate effect. Depositing virtual skins and items in order to place a bet is not possible anymore.”
“At the moment we are working on a solution for items withdrawal, please stay tuned for an update on this topic.”
“Lounge will continue as an e-Sports entertainment and information platform with new features to be released very soon.”
So that’s that. By and large, this is a good thing. Skin betting allowed for the creation of a dodgy secondhand aftermarket that often took advantage of kids and loyal viewers of certain popular YouTubers. It also created huge conflicts of interest in eSports and led to massive match-fixing scandals.
However, CSGO Lounge specifically brought a lot of new viewers to Counter-Strike, helping transform it into the eSports juggernaut it is today. Moreover, Lounge at least expressed interest in going legit and, frankly, was probably one of the closest to doing so even before Valve cracked down.
So this is something of a bittersweet moment, even if the bitterness only hits as a faint aftertaste weeks or months after the first bite. It’ll be interesting to see how all of this affects Counter-Strike’s eSports scene in the long run. It’ll be cleaner for sure, but will people still care as much? Cynical minds and people who may as well be shouting COUNTER-STRIKE BETTING IS MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE say no, it’s all dead now. I think and hope they’re wrong, but money, no matter how dirty, talks. One way or another, it’ll have a say in all this as well.