CS:GO Lotto website screenshot

Unless you've somehow managed to avoid almost all gaming-related news sources for the past few weeks, you've probably heard about the whole CS:GO Lotto mess. In short, a couple of popular CS:GO Youtubers have been found gaming the system (ie. cheating) in order to positively promote a betting website they owned, all the while disclosing absolutely nothing about the whole ordeal.

While the legality of such an act is questionable, mostly because the laws surrounding gambling with "totally not real money" are still a bit shakey, the morality of such an act is quite reprehensible given that children form the majority of the audience for these types of CS:GO gambling videos. Thankfully, it appears that Valve has finally awoken from their slumber and are now taking steps to hopefully get ride of these gambling websites, once and for all. Here's the full quote from their recent announcement:

"In 2011, we added a feature to Steam that enabled users to trade in-game items as a way to make it easier for people to get the items they wanted in games featuring in-game economies.

Since then a number of gambling sites started leveraging the Steam trading system, and there’s been some false assumptions about our involvement with these sites. 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.

These sites have basically pieced together their operations in a two-part fashion. First, they are using the OpenID API as a way for users to prove ownership of their Steam accounts and 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). Second, they create automated Steam accounts that make the same web calls as individual Steam users.

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. Users should probably consider this information as they manage their in-game item inventory and trade activity."

I'm not sure whether these changes will outright kill all of the Steam-related gambling websites, but they will certainly make their jobs a whole lot harder, and with it probably remove most of the "impulse gamblers" from the system as well. Whatever the case may be, its definitely a move in the positive direction.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I'm actually quite interested to see how these changes will impact the prices of items on the Steam Community Market, especially the currently obscenely expensive ones. Once betting goes away, will they drop down in price since their "usefulness" has gone down, or will they go even higher up since they're going to be harder to come by? To be perfectly honest, I have no idea, but its going to be an interesting few weeks for CS:GO's item market.