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Valve Addresses Gambling Allegations, Takes Steps to Shut Down Sites

Valve says it has "no business relationships with any of these [gambling] sites."


Following the filing of a lawsuit and a scandal involving a Counter-Strike gambling website, Valve has spoken out on the subject and revealed its intention to shut down these types of sites.

"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," Valve's Erik Johnson explained in a statement shared with GameSpot. "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."

The recent lawsuit alleged that Valve "knowingly allowed ... and has been complicit in creating, sustaining, and facilitating a market" where Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skins can be gambled. It claims the company did this by providing these sites with access to Steam accounts.

That litigation is pending, but Valve has now made it clear where it stands on the allegations.

"We'd like to clarify that we have no business relationships with any of these sites," Johnson said. "We have never received any revenue from them. And Steam does not have a system for turning in-game items into real world currency," he said, directly conflicting a statement in the lawsuit that said this was possible.

"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."

An M4 skin in CS: GO, courtesy of
An M4 skin in CS: GO, courtesy of

Johnson went on to explain what Valve is now doing about the situation.

"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," he stated. "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."

It's unclear why Valve waited until now to do anything about the situation, as these types of sites have been around for some time now. They've also generated some trouble recently for a group of YouTube creators who misled viewers by promoting a gambling site they owned without making that clear.

We'll continue to monitor the situation and report back with any new developments on the lawsuit and Valve's fight against these sites.

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