Valve sends cease and desists to 23 CS:GO skin betting sites

Spectators watch a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive esports event on the big screen. AP Photo/David Goldman

Yesterday Counter-Strike: Global Offensive developer and publisher Valve sent out cease and desist letters to 23 CS:GO skin betting sites, signaling the beginning of the end for the controversial third-party activity in its current form. Though the validity of the cease and desist was first questioned, Valve has confirmed to multiple outlets it is legitimate; multiple sites hit by the letter have verified the validity as well.

The letter stated that these websites were in violation of the "Steam Subscriber Agreement"(SSA) with its use of Steam accounts in commercial and unlicensed use. It further stated that if no changes were made after 10 days to cease use of Steam accounts, Valve would pursue all available solutions to terminate said accounts.

These Counter-Strike websites mainly deal with the betting and trading of in-game skins. Some websites even deal in the actual business of bets and gambling with offers of odds and payouts for every official match. Valve began cracking down on Counter-Strike gambling websites after the controversies around Trevor "Tmartn" Martin and Tom "Syndicate" Cassel and their website CS:GO Lotto surfaced online.

The issue at hand revolved around their use of false advertisement and endorsement, with the potential of insider trading, of CS:GO Lotto. Both Martin and Cassel were co-owners of the website and openly advertised its rewards without a clear disclosure of their involvement.

After Valve announced it would be pursuing action against Counter-Strike skin betting websites, many companies announced that it would change operations and services. CSGO500, for example, stated "Our main goal here at CSGO500 is to provide an enjoyable service for our users that is both legitimate and interactive. This will continue to be our goal, as we plan on adjusting to the upcoming limitations set by Valve."