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Valve in hot water over connection to third-party gambling sites

Posted on Thursday, July 14 2016 @ 13:32:19 CEST by

At first glance online casinos and Valve's Steam digital distribution platform are an unlikely connection but since the media discovered CSGO Lotto and other sites a lot has been written about this in the press.

One of the more recent develoments it that two prominent YouTubers turned out to be the owner of a website called CSGO Lotto, something they did not disclose when they talked about the site in their video clips. YouTube stars Syndicate and Tmartn praised this casino-style gambling site via YouTube clips and are now under legal attack for actively promoting the Lotto as a gambling service, including to minors. Trevor "Tmartn" Martin refutes this, claiming the Lotto site only allows legal adults to gamble. Combined, the duo has over 10 million YouTube subscribers.

CSGO Lotto is one of the many third-party sites that facilitate gambling, and some of them have no checks in place to prevent minors from placing bets online. The system works by letting players trade in-game Counter Strike: Global Offensive items like weapon skins for casino chips, enabling them to place bets on lotteries, jackpots, games, poker, etc.

The market for this type of gambling may be bigger than you think. A couple of months ago, Bloomberg reported that over 3 million people wagered an estimated $2.3 billion worth of skins in 2015. The site remarked that every time a skin is sold, Valve collects 15 percent of the money via the Steam platform. The CS:GO gambling sites are far from mainstream but one particularly worrying aspect is that they appeal primarily to teenage boys, the game's biggest fans.

Valve is also facing legal trouble due to the company's connection with the third-party CS:GO gambling sites. But the game publisher publicly denounced the gambling sites and said it has no business relationship with any of these sites. Furthermore, Valve pointed out that these services violate the Steam user agreement and promised to send notices to these sites requesting they cease operations through the Steam platform.

Gambling is one of the big web industries and the best online casino can earn a lot of money. Analysts estimate the market will be worth over $45 billion this year, and especially online mobile casinos are seeing a big rise. This is not surprising as many people are drawn to gambling as they want to test their fate, luck or perhaps even skill.

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