Valve is in the crosshairs, this time from the Washington State Gambling Commission. As Eurogamer reports, the group claims that the developer aided in the proliferation of third-party sites using Steam’s item-trading system to facilitate gambling.
This appears to be the culmination of events that transpired earlier this year. Two popular Counter-Strike: Global Offensive streamers were found to be promoting a gambling site, without disclosing that they were actually its owners.
Since then, Valve has tried to distance itself from CS: GO gambling websites. In July, the company issued violation notices to a number of websites, giving them 10 days to shut down.
"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." said Valve's Erik Johnson back in July.
These gestures haven’t been enough for the Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC), which has gone on to accuse Valve of facilitating a system that allows these gambling sites to flourish.
"'Skins' transactions are usually facilitated within Valve Corporation's Steam Platform," the WSGC said in its findings, (via eSports Betting Report). "All third party gambling sites have Steam accounts and use the Steam platform to conduct their gambling transactions.
"These gambling transactions are automated and performed by a software program or 'bot,' and have proliferated so much that a recent market report by Esports Betting Report indicates that one specific gambling website, CSGO Lounge, brought in approximately $1 billion in 'skin' gambling between January 1st and, August 1st this year alone."
The WSGC goes on, saying that they expect Valve to “take whatever actions are necessary to stop third party websites from using ‘skins for gambling though its Steam Platform system.” This includes stopping them from creating bots.
Valve has until October 14 to set up systems that comply with the state’s laws. If they don’t, the WSGC threatens to “take addition civil or criminal action against the company.”