Valve wades into the skin gambling site furore

Valve have released a statement about the recent furore caused by a certain gambling site and its shadow owners. As you could expect they have come out against the sites offering such services, quoting that utilising Steam OpenID API’s to offer such a service is against the user agreements.

They go on to say that they are shortly going to be sending out notices to the sites to ask they cease operations that use the Steam OpenID API and as such Steam itself. Which will likely mean that some of these sites will cease to operate entirely. Reportedly a number of these sites have begun to block the withdrawal of skins and a number of people online seem to think that this could be down to large discrepancies over actual skin amounts held by the sites.

The statement by Valve been a long while coming and made more pertinent since it became known that certain streamers held were owners of a Counter Strike Global Offensive skin gambling site and were not informing their respective fans of this fact whilst repeatedly promoting it. With one YouTuber (TmarTn) releasing an apology video in which he iterated that his affiliation with CSGOLotto has been public knowledge since its creation. The whole video is more of a sorry I got caught than an real apology as you can see by this re-uploaded copy (thanks dezCnuts).

The excellent Mr Ryan Morrison AKA Video Game Attorney, jumped in and put no doubt on the legalities of the whole thing. Even going so far as to host an AMA on Reddit on the matter a few days ago.

Many are saying the reason for the post by Valve, is simply because of the legal action being brought against them . It is actually good to see that the headless behemoth has decided to take some kind of action. Even going as much to slyly recommend players to remove any skins from these sites.

Time will tell what will actually happen, but I expect that a few of these sites will cut and run with the stock that they can, whilst the sudden influx of skins being withdrawn may cause a surplus on the Steam Marketplace and subsequently price crashes.

You can read the full release below, as well as CSGO Players reactions over at

In 2011, we added a feature to Steam that enabled users to trade in-game items as a way to make it easier for people to get the items they wanted in games featuring in-game economies.

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.

These sites have basically pieced together their operations in two-part fashion. First, they are using the OpenID API as a way for users to prove ownership of their Steam accounts and items. Any other information they obtain about a user’s Steam account is either manually disclosed by the user or obtained from the user’s Steam Community profile (when the user has chosen to make their profile public). Second, they create automated Steam accounts that make the same web calls as individual Steam users.

Using the OpenID API and making the same web calls as Steam users to run a gambling business is not allowed by our API nor our user agreements. We are going to start sending notices to these sites requesting they cease operations through Steam, and further pursue the matter as necessary. Users should probably consider this information as they manage their in-game item inventory and trade activity.

-Erik Johnson



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