Is Valve's CS GO case opening legal?

"Counter-Strike": billion dollar business with weapon skins and bets

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"Virtual weapons turn teen gamers into serious gamblers," is the title of the industry magazine Bloomberg's latest article on the billion dollar business with weapon designs (skins) for the multiplayer shooter "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive". This involves huge monetary transactions that are now being carried out by underage players via external betting providers by betting on esports events with their weapon skins.

Weapon skins betting

The weapon skins from "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" are used as currency. The design templates that players can use to modify the appearance of their weapons are worth a few euros even at lower rarity levels. Rarities can even be sold for a few hundred euros.

But it is not only in the game that this opens up a huge market without any regulation. These skins, which can be quickly turned into money and therefore represent a kind of currency, can be placed on e-sports events via external betting providers.

Lack of government regulation

This is problematic because there is little or no intervention by state laws or Valve itself. Sports betting is prohibited in most US states, which means that such bets on e-sports with virtual items are a good way of circumventing these bans due to the lack of state regulations. In addition, according to Bloomberg, minors can easily win - or lose - a lot of money by betting.

As a result, around 3 million players are said to have bet a total of around 2.3 billion dollars (2.04 billion euros) on sporting events in 2015. In the game between the Fnatic and Luminosity teams, $ 1.2 million (EUR 1.06 million) are said to have been placed in March alone. It is estimated that around 134,000 dollars (119,000 euros) will be used per game.

Valve doesn't respond either

In addition to sports betting, there are also sites that offer games of chance such as roulette or slot machines that can be played with "CS: GO" weapon skins. Developer Valve is in the crossfire of criticism in the story.

For one, because Valve has no problem trading weapon skins through third-party vendors who even use Valve software. On the other hand, because Valve sees no need for action and is not trying to restrict this business. New York attorney Ryan Morrison said, "Valve is acting like a 10 person indie company. I'm shocked they let that happen."

That Valve does not necessarily want to prevent these deals becomes clear when you consider that Valve earns well: The company receives 15 percent of the purchase price for each transaction. (fps, April 22, 2016)