CS:GO Gambling Scandal

CS:GO Gambling Scandal

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Updated Sep 10, 2016 at 06:39AM EDT by Z..

Added Jul 05, 2016 at 04:06AM EDT by Chrispy92.

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The CS:GO Gambling Scandal refers to an online controversy surrounding the massive speculative market where players of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) can trade and bet on custom skins using real money, which came under scrutiny from online gaming communities after two prominent CS:GO streamers were found to be owners of CSLotto, a popular CS:GO skin gambling site that had been frequently promoting through their streaming channels.


Gambling in CS:GO

In the online first-person shooter CS:GO, players can trade a variety of skins that change the appearance of weapons in-game. As a result, an online market for the skins emerged, along with several websites allowing players to gamble the items as currency. According to Bloomberg Business Week,[4] upwards of $2.3 billion in skins were bet in e-sports matches during 2015.

Conflict of Interest Allegations

On June 27th, 2016, YouTuber HonorTheCall uploaded a video accusing CS:GO streamers Tom Cassell (a.k.a. ProSyndicate) and Trevor Martin (a.k.a. TmarTn) of failing to disclose their ownership of CS Lotto, a gambling site often featured in their videos (shown below).

Shortly after, Martin released a video in which he claimed to have disclosed the ownership within his YouTube video descriptions. The video was subsequently made private. On June 30th, HonorTheCall refuted these claim, noting that Martin had previously stated he "found" the site and only added the disclosure after the conflict of interest accusations arose.

Notable Developments

On July 3rd, 2016, YouTuber h3h3 productions published a video titled Deception, Lies and CSGO, in which host Ethan Klein discussed the allegations and called for regulation of the gambling sites (shown below).

On the same day, Gameinformer[2] published an article detailing the scandal, noting that Tom Cassell had also been accused of receiving $30,000 for promoting the Xbox One console without informing viewers of the financial relationship. On July 4th, 2016, YouTuber Lewis Stewart (a.k.a. PsySyndicate) posted a video confessing that two videos featuring weapon skin auctions had been faked (shown below).

On July 4th 2016, YouTuber TotalBiscuit published a video in which he criticized the streamers for their corrupt practices (shown below). Meanwhile, Redditor success_whale submitted a post about the scandal to /r/OutOfTheLoop,[5] where it received upwards of 2,400 votes (84% upvoted) and 400 comments within 24 hours.

On July 13th 2016, Valve employee Erik Johnson issued an official statement saying that Valve had no involvement with any existing third party gambling site and that the use of Steam's OpenID API, an API created by Valve that is used by gambling sites to prove ownership of Steam accounts and items, to run gambling sites was a violation of Steam's user agreements. As a result, these sites would be sent notices to cease operations through Steam immediately.[6]

All Games > News In-Game Item Trading Update Announcement- Valve 13 Jul In 2011, we added a feature to Steam that enabled users to trade in-game items as a way to make it easier for people to get the items they wanted in games featuring in-game economies. Since then a number of gambling sites started leveraging the Steam trading system, and there's been some false assumptions about our involvement with these sites. We'd like to clarify that we have no business relationships with any of these sites. We have never received any revenue from them. And Steam does not have a system for turning in-game items into real world currency These sites have basically pieced together their operations in a two-part fashion. First, they are using the OpenlD API as a way for users to prove ownership of their Steam accounts and items. Any other information they obtain about a user's Steam account is either manually disclosed by the user or obtained from the user's Steam Community profile (when the user has chosen to make their profile public). Second, they create automated Steam accounts that make the same web calls as individual Steam users. 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. 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 -Erik Johnson

On the same day, video game streaming service Twitch issued a statement reminding users that broadcasting content that violated the user agreements or terms of services of third party sites was not permitted and therefore, content that broke Valve's user agreements would not be permitted on the site.[7]

Twitch and third-party terms of service and user agreements Today Valve released an announcement clarifying the intended use of Steam's trading system and OpenID API. Valve specifically notes that 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." As a reminder, per Twitch's Terms of Service, broadcasters are not permitted to stream content that breaks the terms of service or user agreements of third parties. As such, content in which the broadcaster uses or promotes services that violate Valve's stated restrictions is prohibited on Twitch. Our Rules of Conduct lists other examples such as playing pirated games and playing on unauthorized private servers.

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Well, been on this site for a few years now, but this is my first entry. Constructive criticism is appreciated. Figured this mess would blow up soon with h3h3 and TotalBiscuit getting involved. Might as well have an entry for it.


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