A lot of people that were keeping tabs on Valve last year know by now that one of the biggest scandals for them in 2016 was Counter-Strike gambling, specifically the revelation that a pair of Counter-Strike players were making big money off of gambling away skins and other rare items they got from children using the platform.
However, it seems that despite Valve’s best efforts to curtail this sort of thing, the Counter-Strike gambling scene is still going strong, with a large amount of money being used for betting skins on major eSports competitions and other, more generalized gambling sites. According to a recent ESPN feature about the gambling scene, nearly five billion dollars in skins were bet in 2016 alone.
Forty percent of that five billion dollars was bet on eSports, while the remainder was bet in the regular gambling sites. Valve has taken a number of steps to attempt to stop this problem, mainly by sending cease-and-desist letters to sites that take part in this betting and disabling the Steam accounts of players that take part. However, that does not appear to have worked.
Apparently, Steam’s open API is the reason why so many Steam gamers are able to make use of the Counter-Strike gambling scene, including the large number of children that also have Steam accounts. Much criticism has been leveled at Valve for this, not just among players but also the Washington State Gambling Commission. Previously, the Commission had ordered Valve to stop facilitating the use of skins as currency.
The gambling controversy is one of the multiple security problems with Steam that Valve has yet to fully address, including hacking and other sorts of security issues that lead hackers to be able to do things like steal people’s personal information, though hopefully Valve will eventually take measures to stop this.