The Washington State Gambling Commission is cracking down on CS:GO skin gambling and ordering Valve to “stop facilitating gambling” and “immediately stop allowing the transfer of virtual weapons known as ‘skins’ for gambling activities through” Steam, according to a press release issued by the state regulation body this week.
WSGC implies that it’s been studying the issue since last February and has concluded that CS:GO skins are indeed being used “as consideration for illegal gambling activities” through Steam. It cites a report estimating $1B in gambling revenue for one site, CSGOLotto, in 2016 alone.
“The Gambling Commission expects Valve to take whatever actions are necessary to stop third party websites from using ‘skins’ for gambling through its Steam Platform system, including preventing these sites from using their accounts and ‘bots’ to facilitate gambling transactions. Valve Corporation has until October 14, 2016 to respond and explain how it is in full compliance with Washington’s gambling laws or it will risk having the Gambling Commission take additional civil or criminal action against the company.”
Meanwhile, a district judge in Seattle has granted a motion to dismiss the class action lawsuit that had been pending against Valve and a number of CS:GO gambling website owners. Gamasutra writes that it was in fact CSGOLotto owner Trevor “TmarTn” Martin who filed the motion to dismiss, not Valve, which itself attempted to distance itself from the sites and temporarily blacklisted Martin’s site this past summer over allegations that he and another YouTuber were engaging in unethical promotion of their gambling business and even rigging bets. Valve also claims it “sent cease and desist letters to over 40” gambling sites.
The dismissal was granted on jurisdictional, not substantive, grounds because, as the ruling noted, the “gambling losses [were] not sufficient injury to business or property” to justify a suit under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act; in fact, the class action did not submit a specific sum of damages at all. As e-sports attorney Bryce Blum observed, the plaintiffs may appeal.