[toc]Valve’s ongoing crackdown on skin gambling appears to span all types of products, including the popular skin-based esports betting site CSGO Lounge.
That’s per a copy of a cease and desist notice that appears to be from Valve, a notice that targets 23 individual skin betting sites.
ESBR has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the letter, but it was also publicly posted by a major skin betting site.
That site, CSGOBig, posted the letter as part of an announcement regarding the site’s decision to “temporarily” shut down “to comply with Valve.”
Focus on “commercial use”
The letter (text below) centers around alleged violations of the Steam Subscriber Agreement concerning use of Steam accounts for commercial use.
The terms contain multiple prohibitions on commercial use of accounts, including under Section 2 (Licenses):
Steam and your Subscription(s) require the automatic download and installation of Content and Services onto your computer. Valve hereby grants, and you accept, a non-exclusive license and right, to use the Content and Services for your personal, non-commercial use (except where commercial use is expressly allowed herein or in the applicable Subscription Terms).
That specific language was absent from Valve’s initial announcement of the company’s decision to block skin gambling sites from utilizing the Steam platform.
It also raises the question of whether Valve’s action will extend to non-gambling businesses that utilize the Steam platform for commercial purposes.
All types of products targeted
The list of sites included in the cease and desist includes leaders in most major skin betting product categories.
The letter also answers a question that has been floating around the CS:GO community in the aftermath of Valve’s initial announcement: Would CS:GO Lounge be included in the crackdown?
Lounge is the clear market leader among skin-based sports betting sites, which is the largest segment of the overall market for skin betting.
Some speculated that Valve might draw a distinction between what is effectively a peer-to-peer betting system and the casino-style games offered by other skin gambling sites, especially given the apparent interplay between betting skins on esports matches and viewership.
Assuming CSGO Lounge complies, companies that offer cash-based esports betting could see a material spike in demand. Skin-based betting on esports matches is roughly six times the size of cash-based betting on esports in terms of total amount wagered.
Text of the letter
Re: Violations of Steam Subscriber Agreement
Sites included in the letter