After months of controversies over skin gambling in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valve has addressed complaints that it facilitates the activity in a letter to the Washington State Gambling Commission (WSGC).
Earlier this month, the WSGC asked Valve to stop facilitating the use of skins for gambling activities through Steam. The commission gave the company, which is based in Washington, until Oct. 14 to respond to the inquiry or “it will risk having the Gambling Commission take additional civil or criminal action against the company.” The WSGC request came after multiple reports of esports and gaming personalities owning skin betting sites, using inside knowledge or tactics to win expensive items and not disclosing it to viewers, leading many people—sometimes teenagers—to spend thousands of dollars on the sites with misguided expectations.
When the deadline rolled around and there was no official response from Valve, WSGC published a memo stating that a representative of the company had contacted the Commission that day and a reply would be provided on Oct. 17—three days after the official deadline.
The letter from Valve, which was submitted via email yesterday and published by Tech Raptor, states that “Valve is not engaged in gambling or the promotion of gambling, and we do not ‘facilitate’ gambling.” It continues to say that both Steam and CS:GO are lawful under Washington state law.
“We were surprised and disappointed that the Commission chose to publicly accuse Valve of illegal activity and threaten our employees with criminal charges,” the letter reads. “There is no factual or legal support for these accusations.”
Valve also points out that it has taken its own steps to discourage skin gambling on third-party websites, citing the cease and desist letters it sent to 23 skin gambling sites in July. The company said it is happy to cooperate with the Commission if it is able to identify more skin gambling sites that are illegal in Washington and “the Steam accounts through which they operate.”