Valve launches offensive against gamblers on Steam, possibly affecting CS:GO’s skin market

The ramifications could be huge.

Image via Steam

Valve has made “gambling” a bannable offense in Steam, according to the updated version of the platform’s Terms of Service on May 9 and as noted by skin collector xMercy on Twitter on May 10.

This could spell trouble to the several third-party CS:GO skin gambling websites that use Steam’s API, because in theory, Valve could start banning bettors who engage with these websites through the API.

“As a Steam subscriber, you agree to abide by the following conduct rules […] and more specifically, you shall not do, or attempt to do, any of the following on Steam,” Steam’s Online Conduct blog reads before listing several prohibited actions like engaging in commercial activity, specifically. “Examples of such prohibited behavior include posting advertisements; running contests; gambling; buying or selling Steam accounts; selling content, gift cards, or other items; and begging.”

As xMercy pointed out on his Twitter thread, Valve has won all recent lawsuits around the third-party gambling websites that used its API. Valve was also cleared of facilitating unregulated gambling by a United States federal court. This means that Valve is legally not responsible if Steam users lose their skins on unregulated CS:GO skin websites.

By making gambling a bannable offense, however, Valve could be effectively protecting its users from unregulated skin websites by making these types of transactions difficult with Steam’s own Terms of Service.

Gambling in CS:GO has been problematic since the early days of the game in 2013, 2014, and 2015, when users could bet their skins on professional games on websites like CSGOLounge. Valve shut them down in 2016 after prohibiting sites like CSGOLounge from using its API. Gambling, however, has become a community concern again in 2023 due to several professional CS:GO teams and streamers partnering with unregulated skin websites.

Related: Counter-Strike fans fear gambling endemic is regressing to mid-2010 levels

It’s unclear what will be the ramifications of Steam’s new Terms of Services, but it looks like Valve is once again targeting unregulated gambling and skin websites. For now, all that we can do is wait to see how the Steam developer will police this new rule.

About the author
Leonardo Biazzi

Staff writer and CS:GO lead. Leonardo has been passionate about games since he was a kid and graduated in Journalism in 2018. Before Leonardo joined Dot Esports in 2019, he worked for Brazilian outlet Globo Esporte. Leonardo also worked for between 2020 and 2021 as a senior writer, until he returned to Dot Esports and became part of the staff team.