Valve, the makers of the popular gaming service Steam, has had a lawsuit filed against it by the Quinault Indian Nation which claims that the company is running an unlicensed gambling operation while demanding payment for damages.
Who is Quinault Indian Nation and what are their claims?
The Quinault Indian Nation owns and operates a licensed casino in Washington. Their casino is regulated by the Washington Gaming Commission. Valve is also based in Washington.
The Quinault Indian Nation claims that Valve has facilitated illegal, unregulated and unlicensed online gambling after it launched skins for its game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO)
Valve started releasing skins for weapons in CS: GO back in 2013. These upgrades don’t change the gameplay of the game at all and are purely for cosmetic purposes. Players of the game would earn crates by playing the game which could only be opened with keys that Valve sold in its store. There was no other way to open the crates which resulted in Valve pocketing quite a bit of money.
The Quinault Indian Nation has claimed that the look, feel, sound and experience of opening a crate was equivalent to operating an online slot machine. They’ve also shown footage of players opening crates in order to solidify their claims further.
There’s more to the Quinault Indian Nation’s allegations. The industry around CS: GO skins grew rapidly between 2013 and 2016. There were plenty of skin gambling sites that were launched in this time with Valve doing nothing to stop them. The Quinault Indian Nation points fingers at Valve and says that Valve had actual knowledge of the identity of Valve accounts which the gambling websites used to move gambling transactions and chose to not do anything about it.
In other words, Valve allowed gambling websites to use Valve accounts on Valve’s servers and Valve’s computers in order to execute gambling transactions. In addition to all of the above Valve has also provided technical support to gambling websites as well as real-money cash out websites even those these websites were violating Valve’s Steam Subscriber Agreement and would work to return control of these accounts back to the gambling website after being hijacked or hacked by other third parties.
For these reasons and more, Quinault Indian Nation has claimed that Valve has harmed them. They claim that if Valve is a gambling operation, it currently is an unlicensed one and doesn’t face any of the costs or risks that come with a gambling license. The Quinault Indian Nation is currently suing Valve for damages as well as the money obtained through gambling transactions.
Source – Igaming world