Gambling has been the recent monster Valve has been trying to slay for some time now. It started first with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but now it seems to have spilled over to Team Fortress 2 (TF 2). Valve has announced they have begun the process of blocking accounts associated with TF2 gambling.
Recently, a report came out that $5 billion was spent on CS:GO gambling in 2016, so one has to wonder if that news caught the attention of some in the Team Fortress 2 community, as well as Valve itself. Having gone through this before, Valve seems to be jumping on the news before a new controversy emerges around a different game.
The announcement, while short on details, notes that Valve saw Team Fortress 2 items being “leveraged,” which we can assume to mean used in similar ways to CS:GO. The TF2 community has had a longstanding history of trading items, selling things like hats and other cosmetics in the marketplace, long before any other Valve game—before gambling of any kind with Valve’s games, let alone TF2 gambling. Sites have grown to facilitate that trading, and now it appears that some groups are trying the same route that led to Valve’s problems with CS:GO, or Valve has now taken notice of them at least.
Valve did not name names in their announcement but did let it be known that there was a problem, which we can assume is TF2 gambling. The most likely reason they did not comment on who they were banning, or looking into, is that they would like all of their players to avoid any third party site, one would imagine, and stick strictly to their marketplace.
While TechRaptor is not going to give any one site attention, if you go searching for TF2 gambling sites, you’ll notice that their presence on Steam has been scrubbed almost entirely. Many pages seem to have a note about being “administratively disabled.”
Valve has run into some conflict with the Washington State Gambling Commission, where the commission demanded Valve stop all skin trading through Steam. Valve’s response is that they have been working to remove the gambling sites from their service but were not going to stop all trading. As far as we know, the commission and Valve are still working on the issue.
The announcement here about TF2 gambling certainly seems as a way to get ahead of anything that could be coming their way from the community, press, the commission, or otherwise. Check back here for any updates.
What do you think of Valve’s action here in regards to TF2 gambling? Do you see it as a big issue to you personally? What would you like Valve to do?