CS:GO Skins gambling

Native American Quinault Tribal Nation members have filed a lawsuit in the state of Washington against Valve over skins gambling. The group accuses Valve of participating in "unethical, oppressive, and unscrupulous business conduct."

The plaintiffs own and operate the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino. They argue that Valve has engaged in unfair competition with legally licensed gambling operations. Valve does not have a license to conduct gambling operations. The lawsuit argues that because Valve does not have a gambling license they are illegally facilitating gambling through the trade of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skins both through their own Steam Marketplace and third-party betting sites. Interestingly, one of the sites mentioned in the lawsuit is OPSkins, a site that Valve sent a cease and desist request to back in 2018.

The suit says that "Valve is well aware of the skins gambling that goes on, is well aware that skins have real world cash value, which has increased their popularity and value, and actively encourages and facilitates skins gambling." It continues on to say that Valve has "profited handsomely for years from illegal online gambling, and has made only token efforts to stop it."

The suit makes the claim that this skins gambling also hurts casinos, casinos like Quinault Beach Resort and Casino. Members of the Native American Quinault Tribal Nation say that they have to take steps to ensure fair and secure gambling conditions, in addition to paying taxes and fees to state and local governments. The suit says that Valve does not have to do any of this and thus creates an unlevel playing field. Since 2013, Quinault Nation has paid over $1.2M to the state of Washington in regulatory fees. Since 2009 they have paid over $382,500 to local governments in other fees.

"(...) Users deposit real money on Valve's website, connect that real money account to nominal third-party websites where users can participate in various forms of gambling, and then cash out their account balances, converting Skins into real money. All of these gambling transactions between users and third party gambling websites actually take place on the Valve servers because Skins are never actually transferred from Valve's servers and computer system.

"Put another way: Valve's servers host the gambling website accounts and OPSkins accounts, and the tyrades physically take place among these Valve accounts - users, gambling websites and cash-out websites. In the barkeeper analogy, users buy chips from the bartender, gamble in one backroom and cash out in another, all under Valve's roof.

"This is an illegal scheme designed to bypass state-by-state gambling laws. And this illegal gambling violates Washington law."
The full lawsuit can be seen below. Thanks to both GeekWire and GI.biz for additional details on this.

Quinault v. Valve by on Scribd