Earlier this month, Washington State Gambling Commission ordered game developer Valve to stop all skin transfers related to gambling. Although Valve missed the initial deadline they have now responded with a defiant message.
The letter, sent to the commission and TechRaptor is signed off by Liam Lavery, Valve’s legal counsel and denies any wrongdoing on the developer’s part.
“As we have explained on multiple occasions, Valve is not engaged in gambling or the promotion of gambling, and we do not “facilitate” gambling.”
Throughout the statement, Valve compare their ‘Sign in through Steam’ OpenID system to similar features used by Google and Facebook. Similarly, they point to the fact that skins purchased through the Steam Marketplace or by trading are not convertible to cash through any website that Valve runs. The letter continues to distance Valve from having anything to do with the gambling industry and argues the legitimacy of their product offering.
Another paragraph from the statement reads as follows:
“We do not want to turn off the Steam services, described above, that skin gambling sites have taken advantage of. In-game items, Steam trading, and OpenID have substantial benefits for Steam customers and Steam game-making partners. We do not believe it is the Commission’s intention, nor is it within the Commission’s authority, to turn off lawful commercial and communication services that are not directed to gambling in Washington.”
The letter and statement from Valve finishes with an open invitation for the gambling commission to work together with the developer to target offending Steam accounts.
Esports Insider: When I heard news of Valve missing the response deadline I feared the worst. Yet again, Valve distance themselves from the gambling side of things. I am by no means an expert in gambling law but I get the feeling that this isn’t really enough on Valve’s part. Surely, if a company has a currency that is readily convertible to cash (all be it not through them personally) that is then being used for unlicensed and often underage gambling it needs to be seriously looked at. I for one just hope the dust settles quickly and Valve don’t drag the whole of esports through the mud with their approach.