Valve is being sued for profiteering from illegal gambling; all because of Counter Strike: Global Offensive. A CS:GO player has filed for a class action lawsuit against the game developer for allowing an “illegal online gambling market” to spring up around the ability to buy and sell in-game weapon skins.
The issue surrounds the Steam Community Market, where weapon skins can be traded for real world money. Gambling syndicates have been using these skins as collateral for betting on professional CS:GO games; with matches drawing an average of $134,000 (about RM550,000) in skins wagers.
The lawsuit claims that Valve is complicit in these activties, as the company has repeatedly failed to take action against what are clearly black market activities. It also goes on to accuse Valve of profiting from the gambling; as the process of liquidating the skins goes through the Steam Community Market and is therefore subject to Valve’s fees.
Adding to Valve’s issues here is the problem of minors engaging in the illegal betting. The online syndicates do not perform checks on those placing bets; allowing children to participate in the activity.
Valve itself doesn’t comment the existence of illegal gambling surrounding its games. That being said, it does not allow professional gamers to wager on their own games; as was evident when several CS:GO players were issued bans for illegal betting.
While the lawsuit only focuses on CS:GO – possibly due to the Bloomberg report – it is not the only game with a large gambling scene. Dota 2, another Valve game with tradeable skins, has a similar problem.
Valve has not commented on the impending legal action. In the event that it is forced to respond, this could be the start of new policies against the use of skins for wagering. Not that it would stop people from trying.