End Of The Skin Betting World As We Know It? Valve Cuts Off CS:GO In-Game Wagering

Written By Dustin Gouker on July 13, 2016 - Last Updated on January 22, 2018

[toc]Valve announced that it is asking skin betting sites to stop using its technology for wagering of in-game items for Counter Strike : Global Offensive.

What Valve said on skin betting

According to a post at the Steam community forums:

We are going to start sending notices to these sites requesting they cease operations through Steam, and further pursue the matter as necessary.

Valve is trying to distance itself from the skin betting industry, which has come under increasing scrutiny for its legality in the U.S. and elsewhere, scrutiny fueled by a number of high-profile scandals and class action lawsuits filed against Valve regarding skin betting.

Impacts from the Valve decision

The announcement could effectively mean the end of skin wagering on CS:GO, as without access to the API for the game, there is no practical way for skin betting to occur.

It would also mean the beginning of the end of an industry that has quickly become a multi-billion dollar endeavor by turnover.

It’s not clear how the numerous skin betting sites will react to the news.

The full Valve statement

Here is the statement posted by Valve:

In 2011, we added a feature to Steam that enabled users to trade in-game items as a way to make it easier for people to get the items they wanted in games featuring in-game economies.

Since then a number of gambling sites started leveraging the Steam trading system, and there’s been some false assumptions about our involvement with these sites. We’d like to clarify that we have no business relationships with any of these sites. We have never received any revenue from them. And Steam does not have a system for turning in-game items into real world currency.

These sites have basically pieced together their operations in two-part fashion. First, they are using the OpenID API as a way for users to prove ownership of their Steam accounts and items. Any other information they obtain about a user’s Steam account is either manually disclosed by the user or obtained from the user’s Steam Community profile (when the user has chosen to make their profile public). Second, they create automated Steam accounts that make the same web calls as individual Steam users.

Using the OpenID API and making the same web calls as Steam users to run a gambling business is not allowed by our API nor our user agreements. We are going to start sending notices to these sites requesting they cease operations through Steam, and further pursue the matter as necessary. Users should probably consider this information as they manage their in-game item inventory and trade activity.

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Dustin Gouker

Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. You can also find his work at Legal Sports Report.

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