A letter has apparently been floating around indicating that Valve is serious about putting an end to the gambling using their OpenID API for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The betting rings have been sent a final cease and desist letter before Valve is opting to take things down a more serious path. Strangely, though, one of the more popular sites was missing from the group.
The letter has been spreading around online, where general counsel at Valve, Karl Quackenbush, wrote…
“We are aware that you are operating one of the gambling sites listed below. You are using Steam accounts to conduct this business. Your use of Steam is subject to the terms of the Steam Subscriber Agreement (“SSA”). […] Under the SSA Steam and Steam services are licensed for personal, non-commercial use only. Your commercial use of Steam accounts is unlicensed and in violation of the SSA. You should immediately cease and desist further use of your Steam accounts for any commercial purpose. You fail to do this within ten days Valve will pursue all available remedies including without limitation terminating your accounts.
They rattled off a list of sites that are to cease operations immediately, including:
The last one is bolded because it’s the one run by Trevor A. Martin and Tom Cassell, better known in the world of YouTube as TmarTn and ProSyndicate. The two have millions of followers between them, and have been using their gambling site to promote betting and gambling amongst their audiences members, many of whom are underage.
Attorneys have been contacted for a civil suit against TmarTn and ProSyndicate, while the FTC was also made aware of their dealings.
One of the sites missing from the list is the one run by James “PhantomL0rd” Varga. In a report by Richard Lewis, he explained how Varga seemed to have ties to the site CSGOJackpot.com.
While the original report seemed to only point to loose ties between Varga and CSGOjackpot, after reading through an entire chat log between Varga and site owner of CSGOjackpot, it was revealed that Varga had been working directly with the owner to promote the site on his Twitch channel and was making well over $298,000 over a period of time from running the site in collaboration with the owner.
To avoid legal troubles, the site owner, who went by the name of “Joris”, was suggested to by Varga to…
“[…] move our servers out of the US. To a country where it’s legal”
They listed on the Twitter page that they were based out of Portugal, but when I contacted the Portugal tourism gambling commission they did not respond with any confirmation that the site was registered with the commission.
In actuality, CSGOJackpot.com is located out of France, and that falls under jurisdiction of the independent French gambling commission known as the ARJEL, or the Authority of Regulation for Online Games. After reaching out to them to ask if CSGOJackpot was licensed to operate in France, at the time of writing this article, there was no confirmation that CSGOJackpot is sanctioned to operate out of the region.
What’s more is that the site is still up and running at the moment, still moving forward despite some Counter-Strike: Global Offensive sites shutting down.
According to PC Invasion Twitch has banned James “PhantomL0rd” Varga from streaming and shutdown his channel following the news about his ties to the gambling sites and potentially rigged bets.
One of the sites that James “PhantomL0rd” Varga was involved with, CSGOShuffle, has already closed down in the wake of the news spreading about potentially rigged bets and breaches of federal regulation regarding disclosure.
We’ll see if some of these sites actually shutdown after receiving Valve’s cease and desist or if they’ll try to find some other workaround to avoid getting hit by the legal banhammer.
One CEO of a prominent e-sports broadcasting company mentioned that the gambling sites are a way for some players to make a little extra cash due to the fact that e-sports doesn’t generate revenue the way some people think.
(Main image courtesy of the Illuminati)