The Washington State Gambling Commission has issued a stern ultimatum to Valve: Stop users from using Steam to facilitate "skins gambling,"
or face the consequences.
The commission sent out a press release today saying that it
contacted Valve back in February about users gambling with Counter Strike:
Global Offensive weapon skins. The activity breaks Washington's gambling laws,
and while it takes place on third-party websites, the participants use Steam to
transfer the valuable in-game skins. The commission cites an estimate from Esports
Betting Report that the gambling website CSGO Lounge has alone made "approximately
$1 billion in 'skin' gambling between January 1st and August 1st."
The commission says that it expects Valve to take "whatever
actions are necessary" to stop the illicit gambling, and that the company has
until October 14 to "explain how it is in full compliance with Washington's
gambling laws." If Valve doesn't reply, the commission says it will seek civil
or criminal action.
Illegal skins gambling
has been a
hot topic in recent months, particularly in regards to the role that
"influencers" play in promoting
and disclosing their involvement with them. Given the amount of money that skins gambling rakes in and the complete lack of oversight (not to mention the potential for
the participation of minors), it was only a matter of time until a regulatory commission
stepped in and started demanding some accountability. Hopefully Valve can work
with the WSGC to find a solution to the problem.