CSGO Lounge, one of several websites recently accused of facilitating illegal gambling, says that it will pursue a gambling license. In a statement issued yesterday on their website, the owners renewed claims that they are not currently engaged in illegal gambling, but warned users in several countries that their ongoing participation in the site could put them at personal risk.
"Virtual items in CS:GO and Dota2 have no monetary value and any community interaction with the virtual items is meant only for entertainment, without any profit interest," the CSGO Lounge notice states.
Then, just a few lines later, it appears to claim the exact opposite.
"We have decided to acquire a license to legally operate in most of the countries and be able to accept the esports bets by our community, as if it would be real money."
CSGO Lounge, which also operates another website called DOTA2 Lounge, was recently named in a lawsuit against Valve Software. That suit alleges that Valve was "complicit in creating, sustaining and facilitating [a] market" allowing players, including minors, to bet weapon skins from their game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In response to that suit Valve issued a cease and desist letter to CSGO Lounge and other websites, barring them from using Valve’s API within 10 days.
In its notice, CSGO Lounge says that it did not begin profiting from the transactions on its website until June 2016, and did so only to generate funds to improve the service. It goes on to say that in the wake of the cease and desist letter, it was forced to "make a decision on how to proceed with Lounges as a community and entertainment service."
That decision appears to be to go all in and officially become a gambling website.
With this change to the site’s terms of service and stated purpose, CSGO Lounge makes it very clear that users who might be barred by national or international law from gambling online can cash out.
"Users from the following countries and regions will not be able to use the betting feature, but still be able to withdraw their previous winnings and deposits," the statement reads, going on to list many countries in Europe as well as the United Kingdom and the United States.
No dates or deadlines were given by CSGO Lounge, nor was there any assurance given that users' inventories would be protected or maintained in any way.
"Please be alerted," CSGO Loungue wrote, "that we don't provide any guarantee to what will happen with your items after the 10 days deadline given by Valve."
Valve began sending out cease and desist letters 13 days ago.