In response to last week’s multi-layered Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling controversies, Valve is taking direct action to prevent the use of their Steam API on third-party gambling sites.
A statement from Valve’s Erik Johnson is being circulated among press and on Steam, in which he makes clear that “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.”
The OpenID API is used by third-party gambling sites (including CSGOLotto, quietly owned by YouTubers Trevor Martin and Tom Cassell) to verify that users have ownership of a Steam account and relevant market 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),” Johnson adds.
In order to further distance themselves from gambling activities involving items from (but not limited to) Valve titles like Counter-Strike:GO, Valve state: “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.”
Valve is currently the defendant in two civil lawsuits filed within the last month, which claim that the company “has knowingly allowed an illegal online gambling market and has been complicit in creating, sustaining and facilitating that market”. Last week it came to light that prominent YouTube gamers have been promoting (but not disclosing ownership of) CS:GO gambling websites.
After letting these open breaches of their API completely slide for an awfully, awfully long time, it seems Valve is finally admitting that, tangentially at least, it had a gambling problem.