Valve will be cracking down on gambling websites that user their OpenID API to connect their services to Steam’s user ID system. They made an announcement today indicating that they have no involvement with these gambling websites and that they will be cracking down on these sites that are using the Steam ID API in ways that breach their terms of service and user agreements.
Johnson clarifies in the post…
“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.”
While Johnson states that Valve has no means of turning virtual currency into real world cash, some of these gambling sites have utilized gray market means to turn the virtual currency into real cash.
After acquiring certain high-value items worth thousands of dollars, some users would then sell their accounts for real money, oftentimes through eBay, which is also against Valve’s subscriber agreement.
Gambling sites participating in these activities have been found to have violated some state gambling laws, like in the case of CS: GO Lotto, while others have violated multiple federal laws, such as SteamLoto. Both instances have been brought to the attention of the FTC by concerned citizens and the FTC has made it known that they are aware of the Counter-Strike: GO gambling scandals.
Johnson rounds out the news update by making it known that Valve will be bringing down the hammer on these gambling sites, writing…
“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. “
So now it looks as if the FTC is involved, Valve is involved and lawyers are also involved. It’s not looking good for the future of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling circuit.
(Main image courtesy of Moldort)