On January 7, a US federal court dismissed one last claim against Valve in a year-old lawsuit over CS:GO skin gambling. The case was part of a series of 2016 lawsuits that accused Valve of facilitating unregulated gambling on third-party websites where people could bet CS:GO skins, some of which were on the Steam Marketplace. Sells for over $1,000. All those cases have now been dismissed.
Back in 2016, stories about teenagers blowing through the limits of their parents’ credit cards to buy keys for CS:Get in arms cases so they can gamble skins on black market websites Mainstream News: “Virtual weapons are turning teen gamers into serious gamblers,” Forbes Reported, Valve received some harsh words from the Washington State Gambling Commission at the time, but in the end, Gabe Newell and company avoided any permanent legal damages from the controversy.
The lawsuit, which had just been dismissed, was brought by parents who said they learned that their children were given the CS:GO weapons cases and then gave them to wager the skins on gambling sites. Was spending money. It claimed that Valve “facilitated” illegal online gambling through third-party websites such as CSGO Lounge and that it misled the public about the kind of business it was running.
Over the course of several years, the court suppressed the claims until none were left.
The first blow to the matter was something we’ve scrolled through every Terms of Service document we’ve ever signed: arbitration. The Steam Subscriber Agreement states that if you have a legal issue with Valve, you must work it out with an arbitrator rather than a judge, which simplifies and speeds up the process. The court initially agreed with Valve that the arbitration clause in the Subscriber Agreement applies here.
The arbitrators ruled in favor of Valve. The plaintiffs were not able to convince them that Valve Skin was the “owner” of gambling sites that used its API, or that those sites had used deceptive practices to encourage gambling. One noted that the minor in question heard about the skin gamble not from Valve, but from friends, and decided on his own accord and to participate in a breach of the Steam agreement.
However, the valve could not come out so easily. The parents appealed, and the appellate court decided that while Children Steam had agreed to the subscriber agreement, the parent was not, so they were still allowed to sue. The matter went ahead, but the parents didn’t have viable complaints to do.
Courts usually do not overrule decisions made in arbitration, so any dispute between Minors and Valve was over, and the claim that Valve was responsible for third-party skin gambling sites did not work out. When the parents brought it back, the court immediately dismissed it on the grounds that the arbitrators had already ruled on the issue.
With the skin yoke out of the equation, plaintiffs instead targeted CS: GO’s weapon cases and keys in what came to be called “lootbox theory.” The claim was that Valve violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act by tricking parents into providing money for their children to spend on loot boxes, which they claimed to be unlicensed gambling disguised as a videogame. as depicted. Valve hid the risks and failed to disclose the constraints, he said.
As part of its defense, Valve argued that loot boxes are not legally defined as gambling in the US, but in the end, the court did not reach a conclusion on the subject, which set a major precedent. Will be established.
The claim was rejected for a very simple reason. The parents could not be deceived by Valve, said U.S. District Judge James L. Roberts, because they “never visited the Valve or Steam website, never used Steam, never played CS:GO, and Never seen or read any representation from Valve about CS.:GO, keys, or weapon cases.” The parents said during the statement that they only found out about weapon cases and skin bets from their kids after the fact, so even though Valve posted a bunch of disclaimers about loot boxes , he would not have seen any of them.
Well, that’s all. The claim was dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot be tried again, and several other claims have been dismissed over the years. Earlier incarnations of the case, filed in Connecticut and Florida, claimed that Valve violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (yes, the same RICO Act used to prosecute the Mafia), but federal courts rejected that claim. rejected. After more unsuccessful attempts, the current version of the case begins its journey through the legal system, only to arrive here. The only open skin gambling case I could find was by Quinault Nation in 2019, but there doesn’t seem to have been any recent movement on this.
Valve has stated that this skin does not condone or endorse gambling sites, even if they have used its Steam API. Back in 2016, when this was all blowing up, Valve sent cease and desist letters to CS:GO skin gambling sites. Some shut down, including CSGO Lotto, which drew even more attention to skin gambling due to allegations that its owners were not explicitly disclosing their ties to the site in YouTube ads, leading to federal trade. The commission reacted.
The skin gamble still continues, though it has sunk under the radar since 2016. Following a 2018 Supreme Court ruling, sports betting is now legal in several US states, creating an opening for an esports betting industry that does not obscure itself with CS:GO skins or other non-currency tokens.