After the deadline date painted on Valve’s CS:GO Cease & Desist letter passed, Lee Davy takes a look at what action the third party sites have made and what Valve’s next move is. When Mahatma Gandhi said that Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed I doubt his crystal ball showed humanity reaching into the virtual world to get their fill. In 1999, Minh “Gooseman” Le and Jess “Cliffe” Cliffe released a modification of the now famous computer game Half-Life called Planet Half-Life. It seems that even back then people were fascinated by the appeal of terrorists killing counter terrorists and vice versa because the mod received 10,000 hits in the first fortnight. The lads knew they had a hit on their hands, and so did Valve Corporation, who eventually took over and over the years continued to refine and tune the game until it became Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, one of the most popular eSports titles in the world. In 2013, in a bid to increase playability, Valve created an in-house trading system where players could pay money to acquire different types of weapons known as skins. It was a genius idea. We have been addicted to collecting things for generations. It was a sure fire hit. But what happens when you merge an addiction to collecting things with the primal desire to want to gamble, and modern man’s urge for instant gratification and greed. You get the skin betting market. This Thing is Quite Addictive Third party sites cottoned on to humanity’s weakness and created ways in which CS:GO players could gamble their skins in a method that mimics one of the most popular gambling games of all time: roulette. The sites sprouted up like weeds in a bad man’s garden. And Valve sat back and watched while it happened. Why? People were buying the game quicker that Americans buy stuff with peanut butter in the title. They sat up when a CS:GO player called Michael John McLeod sued them for a bunch of reasons namely that they were promoting and benefiting from underage gambling – never a common topic, especially in the land of the stars and the stripes. I nearly forgot. The tits-uppedness of this whole situation went supernova after Trevor ‘TmarTn’ Martin and Tom ‘ProSyndicate’ Cassell, who would regularly win vast sums of cash on a third party gambling site called CSGOLotto, actually owned the site and created the software they were using. It was time for Valve to get the shears out. Some weeds needed pulling. Valve Issue 23 Cease and Desist Letters to the Culprits Valve issued 23 Cease & Desist letters to third party gambling sites that were offering skin betting, citing breaches a violation of the Steam Subscriber Agreement and asking them very politely that if they didn’t stop operations by July 29 then something really, really, bad would happen. As of this moment, and according to the information I have robbed from numerous sources across the Interwebs including esportsbetting.com 11 sites have heeded the warning and shut down. Four have closed down temporarily; two remain open without skin betting gambling operable, four have remained opened for business as usual, and the largest site in the world CSGOLounge and its sister site Dota2Lounge advised members that it would be seeking a license to offer real money gambling to its player base. The announcement made by CSGO Lounge made it clear that they have never considered the activity as ‘real money betting’, and only started collecting commissions in June 2016 for a variety of reasons related to the maintenance and smooth running of the site. The notice also stated that CSGOLounge were confused by Valve’s warning and ‘left out alone’ without further information from the game publisher, leaving them no alternative but to make a decision on how to proceed. CSGOLounge creators have begun the process of acquiring a license to ‘legally operate in most countries and be able to accept the eSports bets by our community as if it would be real money.’ Starting Aug 1, the site will limit the opportunity for members to bet who hail from areas where betting on eSports is forbidden. Countries cited on the site’s banned list included Belgium, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom, and the United States. There was also a stark warning to customers: “Please be alerted, that we don’t provide any guarantee to what will happen with your items after the ten days deadline given by Valve.” According to data gleaned by esportsbettingreport CSGOLouge is estimated to have processed over 90 million skins in betting handle this year alone. Over to You Valve According to csgobetting.com Valve have released a second Cease & Desist letter naming a further 20 websites that were missed the first time around. There is no confirmation from Valve that the second letter is genuine. Sites That Have Not Shut Down After Receiving The First Letter CSGOStrong CSGOCosmos CSGOCrash CSGOPot 20 Additional Sites Named on The Unofficial Valve Second Letter Skinarena CSGOjackpot CSGOShuffle CSGOBetting SGOStrong CSG0.com CSGO.ONE CSGOPolygon CSGOHowl Fanobet CSGOBubble CSGOFade Kickback CSGOPoor CSGOBestpot CSGOGo CSGOBetbig CSGODices CSGOMoment CSGOSpeed What Happens if the Third Party Sites Continue Waving The Finger? Writing in a column for ESPN, eSports lawyer, Bryce Blum, pored through Valve’s letter and decreed that the wording didn’t expressively ban third party sites from using Steam to engage in skin betting. Bryce believes the problem lies with third parties creating ‘automated Steam accounts that make the same web calls as individual Steam users,’ giving the sites some wiggle room as long as they don’t make automated calls. One such site, Bets.gg said they would continue to operate skin betting but would change their behaviour to comply with Valve’s rules. Blum also poses some interesting questions as to how Valve will proceed with sites that don’t comply asking whether they will go after all gambling (which would affect sites offering to gamble on the outcome of eSports matches) or the roulette style skin betting sites that have become all the craze. “The problem isn’t betting.” Blum wrote.” The problem is unlicensed, unregulated betting.” But what quite Valve will do about this nobody, but Valve is sure, and they aren’t sharing their hand quite yet.
Ultraplay CEO Mario Ovcharov: The future is esports and cryptos
February 18, 2019
Sports betting and eSports worry NCAA president
January 28, 2019