Valve, the company that created the video game "Counter-Strike: Global Offense," is being sued by a user who claims that they have become addicted to online gambling. The lawsuit charges that Valve has violated gambling laws in the U.S. and that it did nothing to stop gambling websites from exploiting the game's users. Many of the users on "CS:GO" gambling sites are underage and have lost thousands of dollars.
"CS:GO" is a first-person shooter game where gamers can purchase different skins (or patterns) for their weapons. Some rarer skins can be sold for hundreds of dollars. Independent gambling websites have capitalized on this economy of skins by allowing people to play casino reminiscent games where they bet their skins. There are also sites where people bet on professional "CS:GO" matches with their skins. Those who win skins are then able to exchange them for real world money online.
Valve does not run any gambling websites, nor does it endorse them. All gambling sites are created by third parties. The lawsuit claims that Valve has allowed such sites to go unpunished and has corroborated with them. It also claims that Valve has earned money from the websites. Valve, as well as many of its users, refutes this claim. There is no evidence that Valve has earned money from these sites. Valve's browser even actively warns users against going to known gambling sites.
Should Valve be held at fault for the actions of other independent websites? Can you sue what is the equivalent of dice makers for the use of dice in gambling? Either way, the results of this case will have ramifications in the video game industry for years to come.