Valve promises to crack down on Counter Strike gambling

Faced with criticism for its silence over third-party betting sites, Valve announced today it would block the sites from using its Steam client.

On June 23rd, Connecticut resident Michael John McLeod filed suit against Valve Corporation, alleging that the company was knowingly profiting from Steam marketplace transactions occurring in conjunction with off-site Counter Strike: Global Offensive gambling rings. Until now, Valve has remained quiet on the subject, with a lawyer for the plaintiff going so far as to call the company's silence "unconscionable."

As of today, Valve has broken that silence, announcing that it will begin blocking known gambling sites and, if need be, pursuing further legal action against them.

"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," Valve's Erik Johnson said in a statement. "We are going to start sending notices to these sites requesting they cease operations through Steam, and further pursue the matter as necessary. Users should probably consider this information as they manage their in-game item inventory and trade activity."

Johnson's statement also stresses that Valve has "no business relationships with any of these sites" and that "we have never received any revenue from them." He also adds that there is presently no way for Steam marketplace items to be cashed out into real currency, which is true -- but considering the same marketplace assigns real-world value to its virtual items, and Steam users pay into this closed system with real-world money, this doesn't preclude the possibility that Valve has indirectly seen a cut as a result of gambling activity. Whether that can be seen as profiting from these third-party sites is another matter, one prospectively left up to the (still open) lawsuit.

Either way, it's a good gesture from Valve to at last comment publicly on the situation and offer its official stance on Counter Strike gambling rings.

Top image: a screenshot of CSGO Lounge, one of the betting sites named in the lawsuit.

(h/t Polygon.)