The moment Valve introduced purchasable cosmetics, gambling websites made their appearance. Mostly dealing with Dota 2 and CS:GO skins, they allowed people to not only gamble their beautiful pixels, but also to turn those pixels into real money. The latter is something Valve simply doesn’t do; there’s no way for someone to turn an in-game item into actual cash. Quoting Valve’s statement:
“We’d like to clarify that we have no business relationships with any of these sites. We have never received any revenue from them. And Steam does not have a system for turning in-game items into real world currency.”
Now, Valve has issued a cease and desist letter, which means stop (cease) and don’t start again (desist) doing something, to 23 CS:GO gambling sites. Interestingly enough and at the same time, Twitch also seems to be taking similar action. PhantomL0rd, a famous CS streamer, had his Twitch account shut down, apparently due to him streaming these websites.
Valve’s letter is as follows:
“We are aware that you are operating one of the gambling sites listed below. You are using Steam accounts to conduct this business. Your use of Steam is subject to the terms of the Steam Subscriber Agreement (“SSA”). Under the SSA Steam and Steam services are licensed for persona, non-commercial use only. Your commercial use of Steam accounts is unlicensed and in violation of the SSA. You should immediately cease and desist further use of your Steam accounts for any commercial purposes. If you fail to do this within ten (10) days Valve will pursue all available remedies including without limitation terminating your accounts.”
While all this is currently limited to CS, there no reason to assume that Dota 2 sites won’t be next. The obvious question to all this, is why. These organizations have been around for years, so what urged both Valve and Twitch to act now?
Right now, we can only make assumptions. There’s always the possibility that a lot of people were scammed, and took it up with Valve instead of the sites themselves; that’s something people actually tend to do.
However, there’s something else that comes to mind. A more recent and fresh issue, the one of fixed matches. We’ve seen it happen occasionally in the Dota 2 scene. Obviously, match fixing and gambling go in hand. Betting skins is one thing, but betting skins that can be turned into real money is a whole other story.
Perhaps Valve is trying to take away a good reason for match fixing; then again, that’s just speculation. It could be part of the reason, or it could be completely irrelevant.
One thing’s for sure, this case isn’t over yet.
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