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Valve Faces Lawsuit Over Video Game Gambling (bloomberg.com) 73

An anonymous reader writes from a report via Bloomberg: Valve's Counterstrike: Global Offensive game is being sued for its role in the multibillion-dollar gambling economy that has fueled the game's popularity. Michael John McLeod filed a lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Connecticut alleging that Valve violated gambling laws and engaged in racketeering with a handful of off-shore gambling companies. McLeod, who has been gambling on CS:GO since 2014, is asking for class-action status for the suit. The suit was first reported by Polygon and doesn't give a specific request for damages, nor does it say how much money he lost by betting on the site. According to Bloomberg: "Valve provided for money, technical support, and advice to such websites as CSGO Lounge and Diamonds, which take bets, and OPSkins, which runs a market where virtual goods are traded and can be redeemed for cash." Valve has yet to respond to the suit.
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Valve Faces Lawsuit Over Video Game Gambling

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  • by Enigma2175 ( 179646 ) on Friday June 24, 2016 @05:46PM (#52385125) Homepage Journal

    Once again someone is petitioning the government to protect them from themselves. Listen, dumbass. You're the one who made the bets, if you won I doubt you would be filing a suit. But since you're a loser, and will always be a loser, I guess it's time for you to ask the nanny state to go after that evil company that hosted a game where your in-game experience mirrored your real life - you being really overconfident but lacking any skills to back up your hubris.

    • Well, it depends...

      Were the sites operated in compliance with gambling laws? Were there audits to ensure that the system wasn't rigged unfairly (apart from the inherent and well-known house advantage)? Were all transactions accounted for and recorded properly?

      There are a lot of regulations that make gambling a mostly-fair enterprise. Yes, you're still likely to lose, but it's entertaining to play and sometimes win. It's not entertaining to play and never have a chance of winning, and that would put the site

      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        and OPSkins, which runs a market where virtual goods are traded and can be redeemed for cash.

        If this works like a kind of off-site market board or auction house from an MMO, I assume sites like eBay also make sure to comply with gambling laws?

        There is a point at which you really have to tell people to take a hint of personal responsibility.

        • Valve runs a game where you buy keys to boxes for 5 dollar or more. The box can give you a skin that is worth up to a 1000 dollar in cash. And the sites where you can convert it into cash are supported by Valve.

          This is nothing like eBay or an auction house. The point is that I have to buy tickets in order to have a chance at a nice payout. It's a lottery, and Valve made the very serious error of supporting sites that convert in-game items into real cash. Suddenly, we're talking tax evasion, running a lotter

          • by Kvathe ( 3869749 )
            What gives you the idea that Valve supports these sites?
            • by Kvathe ( 3869749 )

              What gives you the idea that Valve supports these sites?

              My bad, I didn't realize that the article had made this claim. They don't provide any evidence for this though, and I've been unable to find any myself. The closest thing I could find is this quote from the original polygon article, which says that:

              The lawsuit filed on behalf of Connecticut resident Michael John McLeod alleges that Valve and third-party sites (CSGO Diamonds, CSGO Lounge and OPSkins) "knowingly allowed, supported, and/or sponsored illegal gambling by allowing millions of Americans to link their individual Steam accounts to third- party websites."

              This is really what it all comes down to, and he's basically complaining that Valve allows them to use their API to let users login to their steam account on a third-party site. This is less "Valve supporting them" and more "Valve not stopping them."

    • The funny bit is claiming Valve supported the gambling sites with money. It's a ridiculous assertion he has no evidence for and that didn't happen.

    • Wait. didn't this guy just officially tell the courts he was breaking the law gambling illegally? Why isn't he in jail already?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just arrest the man who confessed to illegal gambling. This may have been his worst gamble yet.
  • by Woldscum ( 1267136 ) on Friday June 24, 2016 @06:09PM (#52385273)

    The 3 top Twitch streamers have quit streaming the game. Twitch has 3 to 4 Esport companies CSGO tournaments a week. Twitch also has its own weekly CSGO turny which the finalist play on TBS every weekend. CSGO is over exposed and will die soon just like Starcraft before it. If you have skins sell out now at the top of the market. No more skin gambling and it is all over.

    http://www.e-league.com/news/2... [e-league.com]

    • by Kvathe ( 3869749 )

      I play a lot of CS:GO, and somewhat follow the esports scene. In my experience, the competitive community is largely separate from the Twitch community. Every time I've gone to Twitch to check for interesting CS:GO streams, the top streams were all gambling and or Russian. Twitch recently added a rule that streaming gambling for more than 30 minutes [reddit.com] will result in a ban for non-gaming content; that's probably why the 3 top streamers have left. It has nothing to do with actual Counterstrike. Additionally, I'

    • Starcraft overexposed? When did that happen? Twitch was not even a thing when sc2 wol came out and all the streaming services back then were shitty quality or pay locked. When twitch was gaining traction mobas were already at the top. Heart of the swarm was probably the top exposure, but had the worst meta. Legacy of the void seems to have died out pretty fast despite the good improvements.
      • Starcraft overexposed? When did that happen?

        About 2 years ago. Tournaments EVERY weekend with the SAME players playing each other. Week after week after week after week. The big Esports groups just milk the hell out of the hottest game and run sport into the ground. Until everyone is sick of the game. This is happening right now with CSGO. ESEA, FACEIT, ESL, ECS, E League and more than that. The same 10 or so teams playing each other OVER and OVER and OVER and OVER 5 to 6 days a week.

  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Friday June 24, 2016 @06:11PM (#52385291)
    And just like trading derivatives on a financial exchange. Whether it's deemed illegal totally depends on the size of their respective lobby.
    • by Kvathe ( 3869749 )

      I'd say it depends more on the size of the players.

      In this case, many of them are kids.

    • There is a _huge_ difference between real gambling and financial exchanges. Financial exchanges are heavily regulated with a ton of rules to protect investors. It's assumed that the person selling stock is doing so in good faith and they would go to prison if they didn't. Yes, I'm well aware these rules are not well enforced, but that doesn't make them magically go away. A little political will would solve the problems in the financial exchange system.

      As for gambling, it's well known that the "house" ha
    • There's a big difference. If you trade derivatives, you are betting with other people's money.

  • Don't forget all of the $400 items on the Steam CS:GO Marketplace. You know, the ones that normally sell for $0.83, but then suddenly spike momentarily to the maximum of $400 for an item?

    Either there are some incredibly stupid millionaires out there, or, more likely, this is one step in any number of money-laundering schemes.

    Tell me how I am wrong here.

    • by higuita ( 129722 )

      humm... how would that work? i have tons of dirty money, buy a item for $400, then what? sell it for $1 ? even if i sell it for $200, how do i get my money back? steam do not give you real money back... maybe i could buy some games and sell the account? you still have to explain where did that $200 come from, of i sell 2000 accounts, that would be VERY hard to explain.

      Stupid and rich kids and greedy people, i do believe, money laundering i do not see it

      • by Kvathe ( 3869749 )
        As Higuita indicated, they sell the $400 item to themselves on another account. Then, they can buy some expensive item or game and resell it on third-party sites like g2a or opskins, where users buy steam items for real money. This can be done with stolen credit cards as well as for money laundering, although Valve has made that a lot more difficult recently with trade restrictions and 2FA.
        • As Higuita indicated, they sell the $400 item to themselves on another account. Then, they can buy some expensive item or game and resell it on third-party sites like g2a or opskins, where users buy steam items for real money. This can be done with stolen credit cards as well as for money laundering, although Valve has made that a lot more difficult recently with trade restrictions and 2FA.

          True enough about the 2-factor authentication. And also the waiting period sometimes imposed before selling a newly acquired item.

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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