According to report at Polygon this week, Valve is being sued by a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player for allegedly knowingly allowing and sponsoring illegal gambling thanks apparently to Steam’s OpenID api, which allows players to log into gambling websites with their Steam accounts. Participants, including underage gamers, are then able to place illegal bets on professional CS:GO e-sports events, using CS:GO skins as currency and collateral, which leads to direct profit for Valve.
In his suit, plaintiff Michael John McLeod alleges that he was one such gambler, having lost money gambling his skins as both an adult and a minor. As his suit claims,
“Valve owns the league, sells the casino chips, and receives a piece of the casino’s income stream through foreign websites in order to maintain the charade that Valve is not promoting and profiting from online gambling, like a modern-day Captain Renault from Casablanca. That most of the people in the CS:GO gambling economy are teenagers and under 21 makes Valve’s and the other Defendants’ actions even more unconscionable.”
One of the gambling websites, CSGO Lounge, was profiled by a Bloomberg article this past spring.