Valve Being Sued For Running An “Illegal Online Gambling Market”

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A Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player is suing Valve for enabling an “illegal online gambling market” and profiting from it, Polygon reported. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Michael John McLeod from Connecticut, who claims that he purchased skins for the game from Valve, gambled them, and lost money, both as a minor and as an adult.

The lawsuit goes into details accusing Valve Corporation and third-party websites such as CSGO Diamonds, CSGO Lounge and OPSkins of “knowingly allowed, supported, and/or sponsored illegal gambling by allowing millions of Americans to link their individual Steam accounts to third- party websites.” The skins then can be traded and used as collateral for bets, also can be sold for real money.

McLeod compares the situation with a casino being run by Valve along with third party websites where skins are the chips. “In sum, Valve owns the league, sells the casino chips, and receives a piece of the casino’s income stream through foreign websites in order to maintain the charade that Valve is not promoting and profiting from online gambling, like a modern-day Captain Renault from Casablanca”

Although players can’t directly gamble those skins on Steam, and knowing Valve, they probably did everything they could to keep themselves away from any liability. However, I have to admit, the case makes a strong argument that they are complicit. All the accounts in those third-party websites are linked to a Steam account. In addition to that, Valve is charging for each transaction being made when converting items into real cash.

This comes in while there is a big debate whether eSports need to be considered as regular sports or not. While there are strict rules governing any gambling that might happen in the sports field, it seems that eSports are far behind when it comes to that, and there is a huge market for it. “Just like traditional sports, eSports has become the subject of gambling and wagering on outcomes of matches between professional teams. An estimated $2.3 billion was wagered on eSports in 2015 by more than 3 million people.” 

You can read the entire lawsuit here. We will keep updating you as soon as we get any updates.