Washington State Puts The Pressure On Valve To Stop Illegal Skins Gambling
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.
[Source: Esports Betting Report]
Illegal skins gambling has been a hot topic in recent months, particularly in regards to the role that certain YouTube "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.