CS:GO skin gambling comes under fire in Washington state

Skin gambling in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive may become a thing of the past in one U

Photo via Poker Photos/CC BY 2.0 | Remix by Dot Esports

Skin gambling in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive may become a thing of the past in one U.S. state, as the Washington State Gambling Commission has asked developer Valve “to stop facilitating the use of ‘skins’ for gambling activities through its Steam Platform.”

The Washington State Gambling Commission, which was founded in 1973, acts as a gaming control board for the state of Washington and is tasked with enforcing gambling regulations and laws within the state.

The commission’s news release adds that it “expects Valve to take whatever actions are necessary to stop third party websites from using ‘skins’ for gambling through its Steam Platform system,” which includes “preventing these sites from using their accounts and ‘bots’ to facilitate gambling transactions.”

The topic of skin betting has been one of the most talked about subjects in esports throughout 2016. In July, several prominent CS:GO streamers and YouTubers failed to disclose that they were closely affiliated with third-party skin gambling sites, which they also actively advertised to their respective, often young, fanbases.

Besides the conflict of interest, these individuals were also aware of the betting outcomes on the sites, and essentially projected an unrealistic representation of how the gambling sites functioned. In the wake of these scandals, Valve was served with two class-action lawsuits, which prompted it to issue nearly two dozen cease and desist letters to some of the biggest skin gambling sites in the world. If Valve agrees to comply with the commission’s terms, it is possible that more states could ask Valve to stop skin betting in their jurisdiction. Exactly how Valve would go about prohibiting users from specific states from accessing this service in the Steam client is currently unknown.

Valve has until Oct. 14 to respond to the commission’s inquiry, and is now tasked with proving how its current handling of skin gambling is compliant with Washington law, or “it will risk having the Gambling Commission take additional civil or criminal action against the company.”

About the author

Sam Nordmark

Writer at @dotesports