Thursday, July 14, 2016

Steam Banning Item Gambling [UPDATE Valve Has Sent A Cease And Desist Notice To CS:GO Gambling Sites]

Due to recent controversy surrounding Steam and CS:GO (the ability to trade in-game items and or gambling) Valve has announced it will begin asking these sites to "cease operations through Steam" and effectively ban item gambling on the service. The full statement from Valve explains that the company has "no business relationship with any of these sites" and has never received revenue from them. Valve's Erik Johnson issued the following statement, explaining how the sites are violating Steam's user agreements: 

"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 two-part fashion. First, they are using the OpenID 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."

UPDATE 7/20/16 - Valve has sent a cease and desist notice to CS:GO gambling sites. Here's the statement from Valve:

"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."

A full copy of the letter is included right here.

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