Dota 2 skin betting, usually done through community-operated websites such as Dota 2 Lounge, is a highly popular activity for the game’s community and users in general. The betting process is fairly simple: you choose which match you want to bet your skins on (with odds given by the website), trade the skins you would like to place as your stake to a bot account provided by the site, then wait until the match concludes. If you win, the site gives you your items back along with your winnings (random items of similar value to your stake multiplied by the final odds), and if you lose, the items are lost.
This holds the advantage of being within what some people see as a grey area of gambling since you are betting virtual items and not cash, but the semi-automated nature of skins betting is risky (especially if the skins you’re betting were purchased with real money) and it’s not because of the nature of gambling itself, but rather the way that the betting is conducted through bots. Dota 2 Lounge in particular is prone to technical issues, such as bots going offline or Steam Guard getting in the way of trades due to Valve’s trading rules, which makes it quite inconvenient and slow overall. Users have reported prolonged downtime in the past, resulting in them not being able to request and be paid their winnings.
Real money betting is a far better alternative to skins betting, because online bookmakers have to be licensed and regulated in order to operate, thus ensuring security and reliability. Conversely, skins betting sites are run by community members rather than actual companies with proper credentials, causing skins betting to be riskier than it should be. Without the kind of monitoring and support that online gambling sites have, users of skins betting sites do not have any guarantees to go on.
In conclusion, skins betting does have its perks, and is fine when wagering items that weren’t purchased directly (and instead acquired via random drops through the system in Dota 2). It is, however, a dangerous activity when real money is used to buy skins for betting, and in such a case real money betting is an attractive and overall safer alternative. Many such bookmakers will give you free bets to use betting on Dota, and you can check out a list of offers for your country here.