A new class action lawsuit against Counter-Strike: Global Offensive developer Valve was filed Wednesday in Florida by a mother on behalf of her son, a minor. The case alleges that the Valve knowingly allows and profits from teenagers participating in illegal, unregulated and underage gambling of in-game cosmetic weapon skins through third-party sites.
On Thursday, the suit was updated to include CSGO Lotto Inc., Trevor "Tmartn" Martin and Thomas "ProSyndicate" Cassell, who were recently caught deceiving their audience by playing and winning on CSGO Lotto without disclosing they owned the site.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages and restitution, stating that Valve, Martin and Cassel violated federal anti-racketeering statutes and Florida consumer protection laws.
This lawsuit is the second of its kind within the past month, with the previous case being filed in the state of Connecticut. Both lawsuits have a broad focus against alleged illegal gambling with no protections in place, such as age verification, with references to the likes of websites CSGO Lounge, CSGO Diamonds, and OPSkins.
Skin betting is a practice where a user acquires a crate in CS:GO and opens it by purchasing a key. The crate contains skins, which alter the look of weapons in the game, with a variety of rarities. The skins hold real value, from one cent to thousands of dollars. A user can sell the skins, or bet them on esports matches on third-party sites, in turn possibly winning more skins to sell for more money.
An article published by Bloomberg in April cited just over $2 billion in online bets in 2015, but Narus Advisors, the company supplying the stat, tells ESPN that those numbers have risen dramatically. Narus provided a report that shows Counter-Strike gambling and betting sites earn $7.4 billion annually, with $1.9 billion of that earned by jackpot sites, such as those both plaintiffs gambled on -- all of it unregulated.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling has been a growing problem in the esports community due to a lack of oversight. In 2015, multiple professional players were banned in a betting scandal following a report by esports journalist Richard Lewis. Recently, controversy with pro streamer Mohamad "m0E" Assad surfaced over a gambling site rigging the jackpot for him to win in order to gain promotion on his Twitch stream. Last week, previously mentioned YouTube stars Trevor "Tmartn" Martin and Thomas "ProSyndicate" Cassell were caught in a scandal with their site, CSGO Lotto.