The Washington State Gambling Commission is holding Valve accountable for unregulated Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling rings that use in-game skins as betting currency. According to a press release sent today, the Commission has ordered Valve take immediate action to stop the use of digital skins as gambling currency or possibly face legal repercussions.
However Valve responds to this notice, and the possible policy changes that result from the involvement of the Gambling Commission, could affect the way Steam and other digital platforms handle real-world currency and the regulation of in-game item trading in the future.
The Commission first reached out to Valve in February to assess the company’s involvement in online gambling sites that use the Steam platform to place digital bets on Counter Strike matches. Though Valve has publicly spoken out against third-party gambling sites, the Gambling Commission still holds the company accountable for the gambling operations.
“The Gambling Commission expects Valve to take whatever actions are necessary to stop third party websites from using 'skins' for gambling through its Steam Platform system, including preventing these sites from using their accounts and 'bots' to facilitate gambling transactions.”
Valve has been ordered to “immediately stop allowing the transfer of virtual weapons known as 'skins' for gambling activities through the company’s Steam Platform” and must reply to the notice by October 14 to avoid the possibility of further civil or criminal action.