The Washington State Gambling Commission has ordered Bellevue-based gaming company Valve to halt unregulated gambling taking place within its Counter Strike: Global Offensive online game.
In a press release issued Wednesday afternoon, the commission demands that Valve stop third party websites from facilitating transactions that allow players to buy and trade textured digital weapons, known as “skins,” for use as collateral in online betting.
The commission first reached out to Valve in February in regard to the “skins.” From its release today:
All third party gambling sites have Steam accounts and use the Steam platform to conduct their gambling transactions. These gambling transactions are automated and performed by a software program or “bot,” and have proliferated so much that a recent market report by Esports Betting Report indicates that one specific gambling website, CSGO Lounge, brought in approximately $1 billion in “skin” gambling between January 1st and, August 1st this year alone. Based on the information it has gathered, the Gambling Commission directed Valve Corporation to stop facilitating the use of “skins” for gambling activities through its Steam Platform.
Valve has until Oct. 14 “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.”
We’ve reached out to Valve for comment and will update this post when we hear back.
In July, Valve announced that it was sending cease-and-desist letters to the third-party sites that were using the company’s Steam gaming marketplace to facilitate gambling. The move came after a gamer from Connecticut filed a lawsuit one month prior, alleging that Valve enabled unregulated online gambling. On Tuesday, a federal court ruled in favor of Valve.