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TechRaptor staff writers and editors have covered recent scandals involving third-party Counter Strike: Global Offensive skin gambling websites and YouTube stars. The third-party websites were a way for players to gamble skins they owned on Valve’s Steam gaming platform, in the hopes of owning skins that had high real world value. These YouTube stars promoted CS: GO skin gambling websites without disclosing their involvement with the websites – our readers can refresh themselves on the situations with our prior articles.

Today, July 13, 2016, Valve has issued a response to these scandals, and how the company plans on addressing player concerns as well as the lawsuit filed against them.

In this announcement from Erik Johnson, Valve clarifies that their company has no business relationships with any of the gambling websites – which make use of Steam’s trading system – nor do they have any systems in place to let Steam users turn items into real world currency. In addition, Valve receives no revenue from these gambling websites, or the sale of Steam in-game items.

Valve will be sending notices to these gambling websites instructing them to cease their operations, as it violates not just the Steam user agreements, but also the OpenID API user agreements. The OpenID API user agreements were broken by the gambling websites creating automated Steam accounts that mimic activities performed by regular, individual Steam accounts.

Johnson’s closing remarks urges players to consider how they use the Steam Marketplace to manage their in-game inventories in light of this announcement.

There has been no public response to this announcement from the CS: GO Lotto gambling website, its owners, or from the websites recently-acquired legal counsel, Watson LLP (readers can familiarize themselves with Watson LLP’s response to the initial scandals here regarding the CS: GO Lotto situation).

Readers can also read the thoughts of Bryce Blum, Ryan Morrison, and Jeff Ifrah – three attorneys who work in the e-sports industry – on the recent scandals in their reddit “Ask Me Anything” thread.

Stay tuned to TechRaptor for continuing coverage on the gambling scandals and further responses from Valve.

What are your thoughts on the gambling scandals? Do you agree with Valve’s response? Let us know in the comment section below.


Brandon Bobal

Partner Manager

Brandon writes articles with focuses on video and board games, and Magic: The Gathering. When he isn't doing research for his weekly Magic: The Gathering column, he can be found enjoying the outdoors.



  • ASCHGRAU_SEE

    If it violates Valve’s terms, then why didn’t Valve do something about it before now…?

  • giygas

    These sites indirectly drive the sales of $2.49USD crate keys. Valve is always slow to act until their shady business practices get a big enough backlash to make headlines.

  • NorBdelta

    Valve, I dont care about gambling issues, when is half-life 3 coming?!

  • Casey

    “Valve receives no revenue from these gambling websites, or the sale of Steam in-game items.”

    Woah woah woah, hold the fucking phone. This statement, or at least the second part is a load of steaming BULLSHIT!

    If users trade items, it’s totally true. Steam gets nothing. However, if someone takes one of these skins or items they win and sell it on the marketplace, STEAM TOTALLY TAKES A CUT!

    https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=6088-UDXM-7214

    If you scroll down this page you’ll see where it states that they do so. This statement is a fucking lie and a half, and a simple handwave to try and look innocent while pocketing money anytime someone decides to cash out.

  • Jeremy McSwagger

    Fairly certain that’s referring to the sale of Steam in-game items on third party sites.

  • Casey

    They don’t specify that in their statement. Even if that is indeed the case, at any point someone with these skins can and DO sell them on the marketplace and then Valve gets theirs.

  • Reptile

    They do, in the original announcement, maybe you should read the whole announcement to clarify any doubts and before making silly assumptions.
    “Since then a number of gambling sites started leveraging the Steam trading system, and there’s been some false assumptions about our involvement with these sites. 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.”

    They never say they do not take a cut on in-game items sale, they say howerver in the last statement of this paragraph that there is no legit way to turn steam currency to real world currency.

  • Reptile

    Because for whatever reason Valve decided to wake up this week, earlier they updated the Steam app so that you can confirm multiple trade confirmations at the same time, a functionality people were asking since they implemented Steam Guard bullshit. They also decided to update their store layout (Not Steam, Valve Store, the one that sells physical stuff).

  • Reptile

    Turn the gambling lever, if it ends on 3 half life logos then Half Life 3 will be launched.

  • Casey

    There you go assuming. You know what they say about that…

    I did read the statement in full. Just because there is no way of turning these items into real currency does not mean valve cannot make money on them. You see, everyone on steam has the option to add funds to their steam wallet. Guess what you use to purchase these funds?

    REAL MONEY!

    Whether you add it using a credit card, or go buy a card at a store, you use real money to get steam funds!

    So, in many cases, people add money to their steam wallet, go find one of these skins that’s been flipped on the marketplace, and then buy it with their steam funds.

    Guess whaaaat? That’s money going to valve! First in the form of steam funds, though that still technically counts as the customer’s currency until they use it, and then once they purchase ANYTHING on steam, valve gets theirs.

    Sugarcoat it, spin it, flex it all you want, Valve directly benefits from this shit.

  • Reptile

    Tell me then, what do you want Valve to do? Regulate what people do with their own money on the store? If I want to buy 10 CSGO skins to gift my friends, Valve should be allowed to step in and say “Woah! You souldn’t be spending that on 10 CSGO skins!”?

    Aren’t you just spitting brainless hate over Steam (for whatever reason you think you have)? Valve said they do not approve, said they do not have business with gambling websites and are just stating they do not receive money per trade (but if you spend on what you’re trading that is YOUR problem). And was that trade functionality those websites exploited, certainly Valve does not benefit DIRECTLY from gambling websites, rather they benefit directly from users stupidity to buy shit, go and try to gamble it for a shit with different color.

    Do you want Valve to hold your pony paw and tell you exactly what you should use your steam money for? Or are they inherently evil because they somehow make money from dumb people who make the term “Economic Darwinism” be a thing?

    Should’ve Valve acted sooner? Yes, but if you know Valve enough (supposing you know as you hate them so much) you already know that Valve is a turtle to make anything happen. Unjustified VAC bans will take a shitton of time to be reverted, Customer support is slow to the point of being almost non-existant and they take too long to update even a simple feature on their app that allow you to select multiple items to confirm trade / sell.

  • Casey

    Wow. You weren’t content to just assume I didn’t read the statement. Now you’ve just decided to go all the way straight on into personal attack territory.

    I own 356 games on steam. I actually adore it as a service. Why? Because I don’t ever have to worry about patches. I don’t have to worry about about saves being lost (for most games, I know that steam cloud is not in place for every game), and their sales are amazing. Gaben has done something every publisher wishes they could do and made DRM that people will defend. (me included)

    It’s because their service is so good that nonsense like this looks so bad. My entire issue was that their statement is at best an oversight, and at worst, a lie of omission. They benefit from these dirtbag sites and their practices. Full stop.

    I don’t claim to have an answer for this problem either. Valve has at least three economists on their payroll and they haven’t solved it either, so I’m not arrogant enough to think I alone would have a solution. I don’t need valve to “hold my pony paw” mr. kombat man. I don’t buy shit on the marketplace, nor do I intend to. By the way, glad to see your argument was so strong that you had to resort to that little dig. Tells me volumes about the kind of person you are, if your previous assumptions didn’t already.

    I haven’t even suggested that valve should do ANYTHING about it in ANY of my posts. The only thing I’ve said here is that Valve isn’t being honest in this statement, or more accurately, that their statement is bullshit. See, valve dug this ditch on their own, and now they have to dig out of it on their own. In the meantime, they shouldn’t piss on our legs and tell us it’s raining.

  • Brandon Bobal

    Most companies tend to overlook things like this until it gets them major negative press.

  • Reptile

    Sorry if I misinterpreted your post, it’s that I’ve seen lately an increase flow of people on internet who “hate just to hate” who bash a popular game or thing just because it is popular and for whatever reason I thought you would be one of those. Sorry if I lost my mind there

    About the statement, i’m just trying to make it clear that they did not said that they do not take cuts on Market Transactions, they specifically said they do not make money form the gambling thing because those websites exploited the Trade system, not the Transactions one (which as long as I know you can only perform market transactions within steam).

    Now if people buy things only to gamble you can say they profit from the gambling websites, but there is no way to tell if someone is making market transactions just to gamble or if they are just buying a lot of items for whatever other reason, so they can’t stop people from buying stuff to gamble without stopping people from buying at all.

    But in the end all this gambling stuff is worthless, because as stated by them you cannot turn Steam money to real money, so what you have “worth” is actually worth nothing in the real world.

    I’m even surprised that Steam said something at all and it did not took three months.

  • Casey

    Apology accepted, and I apologize as well. I went a little further than I should have in rebuttal.

    I don’t like hating on things. (except maybe mobile games. No one’s perfect) especially not steam. In fact, if their marketplace, their offline mode, greenlight, and their customer service were better, I would have no reason to complain about steam whatsoever. Even with those problems, I still think it’s a fantastic service.

    I just want them to be better ya knoiw? If they can somehow do something to stop this nonsense, it’ll definitely make them better. Until then, it just looks like they’re twiddling their thumbs and indirectly profiting from it. As you said before, they’re not exactly quick to act.

  • Reptile

    Yeah, I think that the major problem is lack of communication between them and community, we never know what they are doing (or if they’re doing something at all), they shut us “outside” and as result they either take a looong time to do anything or they do something everybody dislikes (like paid mods fiasco).

    If they were more open we could make that those backlashes never reached outside Steam, controversial features such as paid mods would never see the light (or if they did, really less crude than it was), since people would already point that others could get free mods and upload them as paid for example. Or in the case of mods that used third party IPs

  • Brandon Bobal

    >As you said before, they’re not exactly quick to act.

    I am fairly surprised at the speed of Valve’s response to this (even if it’s slow by other companies standards).