Home Gaming Valve is finally cracking down on CS:GO gambling websites

Valve is finally cracking down on CS:GO gambling websites

2 min read

Valve steps into CSGO gambling controversy

Last week headlines were dominated by one of the bigger YouTube personalities scandals in recent memory. It centred around Counter-Strike: GO and Valve’s incredibly addictive (and exploitative) gambling system for the shooter. While previously constrained to Steam, third-party websites were accessing the Steam API (apparently legally) and creating their own gambling spaces for anyone to use. And, as it turned out, abuse.

The controversy started and is on-going around two people in particular, CS:GO Lotto owners Trevor Martin(TmarTn) and Tom Cassell (ProSyndicate). Martin and Cassell were revealed to be the owners of said website while also promoting and gambling on it without disclosure. The massive ethical issues with this aside, Valve seemingly let it happen – with CS:GO Lotto and many similar website making use of their API unhindered.

Well, not for much longer. yesterday Valve issued an update on the matter, making it clear that this type of use of their API is against their terms and conditions. They’re giving people a little bit of time to adjust their websites to take out this functionality, although it’s unclear what their approach will be if no one listens. Their full statement is below.

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.

That’s slightly more promising than the deafening silence the company demonstrated last week while the entire internet kicked up a storm. Revoking access to the API that gives these websites so much functionality is a good first step, but it’s nothing if Valve isn’t willing to take things further should they continue infringing.

Hopefully we’ll hear a little more about that facet of their approach if it comes to that, but for now it’s a promising step forward.


Last Updated: July 14, 2016


  1. Of all the things that make Steam great one of their biggest shortfalls is support. They listen to their customers sure, but they don’t really want to hear from them when there’s something wrong.


    • miaau

      July 14, 2016 at 08:10

      are most business’s, even the big and successful ones like that, at some point?


      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        July 14, 2016 at 08:14

        Steam has a very laissez-faire approach to their store & community. I wish they’d be a bit more active in managing it, because you end up with a ton of absolute crap you have to wade through.


        • Captain JJ off track

          July 14, 2016 at 08:25

          Agreed. For all the terrible things that EA is (and regardless of me not supporting them), if you contact them with a problem they will get back to you within 24 hours with a solution or results.


          • Pariah

            July 14, 2016 at 08:29

            I’ve also had only good experiences with EA’s customer support. But I’ve also never had a bad experience with Steam support. Nor a good one, just an on par one.

          • Captain JJ off track

            July 14, 2016 at 08:35

            I’ve had with Steam where they “reply” to your message with.
            “hello, thank you for submitting your question”
            and then never ever hear about it again or see anything done. Following up doesn’t help either. Luckily Steam barely ever has anything you need support for.

          • miaau

            July 14, 2016 at 09:29

            Steam has helped me quickly and promptly the two times I have requested, but that was at least two years ago.

      • Captain JJ off track

        July 14, 2016 at 08:25

        Not really no. There are many who understand the value of customer support better than others and who do really put a lot of resources into making it effective.


        • miaau

          July 14, 2016 at 09:31

          Ah, I misunderstood. Customer support and assisting customers with that is one thing, that yes, I agree with you, needs to be solid, efficient and in place.

          I thought you referring to what customers though to the business, how the business should do things and products and so forth. Sort of like an internet war and campaign to get feature X in phone, lots of noise made, but ultimately, the company has other criteria as well to decide if they can do that or not.


    • BakedBagel

      July 14, 2016 at 08:18

      There is a reason why this exists.

      It explains Valve Time (TM) perfectly



  2. HairyEwok

    July 14, 2016 at 08:56

    So why only jump in now, the gambling has been a problem for some time now, people were buying steam keys to open the crates, those keys are money right into Valve’s pocket. They’re only doing something now because somebody screwed up. If this never caught wind Valve would have let the gambling sites continue since they’ll also be making millions off it.


    • RustedFaith

      July 14, 2016 at 09:23

      Very true, valve have been well aware of the gambling. I have seen thees betting sites being advertised on official Dota 2 tournaments.


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