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Twitch pulls the plug on CS:GO gambling broadcasts

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DOA skin gambling

Twitch is warning streamers not to broadcast or promote Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skin gambling on its service.

The warning comes in the wake of Valve’s announcement yesterday that it is cracking down on third-party websites that use Steam to facilitate gambling. The issue came to a head when the company was sued for helping to create, sustain and facilitate a market that allowed players to bet CS:GO weapon skins as if they were casino chips.

Valve said in announcement yesterday that it was sending out cease-and-desist notices to websites that operate what amount to online weapon skin casinos.

Late last night, Twitch published a notice to tell streamers how Valve’s news impacts them.

Today Valve released an announcement clarifying the intended use of Steam’s trading system and OpenID API. Valve specifically notes 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."

As a reminder, per Twitch’s Terms of Service, broadcasters are not permitted to stream content that breaks the terms of service or user agreements of third-parties. As such, content in which the broadcaster uses or promotes services that violate Valve’s stated restrictions is prohibited on Twitch. Our Rules of Conduct lists other examples such as playing pirated games and playing on unauthorized private servers.

While Steam added in-game item trading in 2011, the rise of third-party gambling seems more tied to the popularization of CS:GO. In 2013, Valve added Twitch CS:GO integration, allowing viewers to earn in-game item drops for watching ticketed events, such as a CS:GO pro tournament.

In the past several weeks, two different players sued Valve, accusing the company of being complicit in sustaining and profiting from the skin gambling. CSGO Lotto, a site run by two popular YouTubers, was later added to one of the suits. The owners of CSGO Lotto are also accused of promoting their website without disclosing that they were the owners.

Prior to yesterday’s announcement, Valve has not commented on the issue. We’ve reached out to Valve and the lawyers involved in the suit to see how this may impact the case. An attorney involved in the suit declined to comment. We will update this story when Valve responds.

In a previous interview, one of the lawyers called Valve’s silence "unconscionable."