Cases were introduced in CS:GO at the beginning of 2013.
A little bit of history: for opening a case, you have to buy a key for $2.49, and after you use it you will be awarded a random skin. In the majority of cases, you will get a cheap skin that costs in the range from 0.1 to 1$. Considering 2.49$ spent, does not seem like a good deal, does it?
Cases opened directly in the game have gained their household name “Gaben cases”. The term is derived from the abbreviated name of Valve’s President, Gabe (Gabe N.) Newell.
With time, case opening sites emerged. They were not owned by Valve and thus offered a greater choice of skins. The cost of opening varied a lot, suiting any user’s pocket. Simultaneously, gambling sites started appearing, which worked in a similar way to regular online casinos but in this case CS:GO skins were used for betting. You upload items from your in-game inventory to a roulette site, bet on red or black, then, fingers crossed, pray you would win.
Opening Gaben cases, which involves the same procedure used at opening sites, is much like playing a typical slot machine: animated visuals with costly skins flying by, an illusion of getting an expensive skin next, and the hope the next big win will compensate for all preceding spending.
There is always a chance that a drop will pay off, but, as it commonly happens, after a good drop a user is encouraged to spend what was just won. So, he or she decides to sell the skin and bet a couple more times. Here classical bad luck comes, leaving a player with nothing. Damn you, gambler’s fervor!
It is widely known that the house always wins. Were you lucky to get a good skin? This means somebody else has lost.
P.S. As an afterword, it is worth mentioning another aspect of case opening sites.
For promotion, case opening sites eagerly buy ads from top streamers. In turn, a streamer should open a few cases on the site and thus engage potential users. “Surprisingly” enough, the streamer’s attempts pay off one after another! A viewer comes up with an idea: “That’s cool! He won right now, live. I have to try as well!”, recharging the balance with their hard-earned bucks, and gets nearly nothing in most cases. Good times if the viewer stays at zero win and zero loss. “What the… ?” – he or she wonders.
The thing is, typically streamers have privileges since the site functionality allows to “adjust” drops and payoffs. There are tons of such stories on the internet. Streamers have been caught red-handed all over the world.