Valve Bans Gambling on Steam in Code of Conduct Update

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Valve has spent years cracking down on illicit gambling practices and platforms that use items contained within its Marketplace as ‘payment’. Most commonly, CSGO skin gambling sees punters use cosmetics unlocked or earned in CSGO to play casino games and place wagers on – almost always – unregulated betting sites. Recently, it was revealed that a huge Code of Conduct update has now made gambling on Steam – or with Steam – a bannable offence.

Since 2016, Valve has found itself embroiled in wave after wave of lawsuits against operators running CSGO skin trading and gambling platforms, and for the most part, it has been successful in its endeavours. In January, the last of these lawsuits was wrapped up – for now – and in an update to the Steam Code of Conduct, Valve has put a firm lock on all forms of gambling.

Enter the Black Market

In 2013, the first skins and cosmetics were released for CSGO, and that ultimately kicked off a ‘black market’ that saw players buying, selling, and trading skins on the Steam Marketplace. This was by design, but it wasn’t long before third-party operators began picking up on the Steam API and using it for their own purposes, allowing players to link their Steam Marketplace account with their own site to pull their skins across and use them as down payments for gambling practices.

It was forever a risky concept and as gambling practices go, it was entirely unregulated and immoral, and it encouraged players of all ages to get involved with gambling. It wasn’t enough that CSGO was regularly coming under fire for the inclusion of lootboxes, it now found itself at the centre of a gambling controversy that lasted years – and that still exists today.

Today, the CSGO skins market is worth billions, and some single transactions can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Recently, it was noticed by a certain CSGO skins collector – xMercy – that Valve is once again cracking down on illicit gambling practices. In the Steam Code of Conduct, an update was recently made to introduce a prohibition on gambling.

This prohibition was listed in the ‘commercial activity’ offences that includes buying and selling Steam accounts, begging, or running unregulated contests on the platform.

It hasn’t yet been confirmed, but it has been suggested that users interacting with CSGO gambling sites that use the Marketplace API to power transactions could now be identified and banned from Steam, losing access to their account and their cosmetics. It could be an expensive endeavour for some, particularly as many of these skins run up price tags in the thousands of dollars.

This will likely also impact any users advertising gambling sites on their profiles or sharing links to such platforms in any games launched through Steam.

Do you use CSGO skin gambling sites? Does this news worry you at all?

For more Insider Gaming news, check out our coverage of the leaked Lords of the Fallen release date.

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