The ongoing saga of Counter-Strike: GO gambling continues, with Steam owner Valve at long last cracking down on gambling sites that breach Steam's terms of service.
However, first, a quick recap. The controversy recently began when it was revealed that two prominent YouTube personalities who had wracked up millions of views using Counter-Strike: GO gambling websites like CS: GO Lotto actually owned CS: GO Lotto, without disclosing that fact to viewers. That fact could possibly lead to legal trouble for those all involved, a group that includes Steam and Counter-Strike: GO owner Valve. Since many Counter-Strike: GO gambling websites use a user's Steam account to conduct business, Valve could be found liable.
That looks like it ends today, as Valve has issued a cease and desist letter to 23 Steam-focused gambling websites for violating Steam's subscriber agreement. The vast majority of the sites mentioned are specifically tailored to Counter-Strike: GO. CS: GO Big posted the entire letter from Valve on its website, along with news that it would be temporarily shutting down. You can read the contents of the letter below.
"We are aware that you are operating one of the gambling sites listed below. You are using Steam accounts to conduct this business. Your use of Steam is subject to the terms of the Steam Subscriber Agreement ("SSA"). Under the SSA Steam and Steam services are licensed for persona, non-commercial use only. Your commercial use of Steam accounts is unlicensed and in violation of the SSA. You should immediately cease and desist further use of your Steam accounts for any commercial purposes. If you fail to do this within ten (10) days Valve will pursue all available remedies including without limitation terminating your accounts."
Is this the nail in the coffin for Counter-Strike: GO gambling? Unless sites can come up with another way to conduct business that doesn't involve direct access to a player's Steam account, it seems like it. It does appear that several sites, including sites like CS:GO500, made plans to adapt their business in light of Valve's earlier threat, but so far, no sites have definitively outlined how they plan to move forward.
Gambling through Steam has long been a thorn in Valve's side. It's because of the high monetary value attached to various in-game items (like those in Counter-Strike: GO) that Valve implemented stricter trade restrictions on Steam for all users. Users, of course, will still be able to put in-game items up for sale on the Steam marketplace, but it looks like the time of offering up digital items on external websites hoping to score big is now over.