Esports lawyer says Valve's item-trading policy leaves loophole for gambling sites

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Thumbnail image courtesy of Valve

Players and fans are celebrating Valve's decision to take action against gambling sites like CS:GO Diamonds and CS:GOLotto, but an article by esports lawyer Bryce Blum for ESPN on Wednesday says that the language in Valve's statement has been "largely misunderstood," and could leave gambling sites free to continue working with Steam should they make changes to the way they operate.

"It does not appear that Valve is banning third-party sites from using Steam accounts to facilitate skin betting. At least, not yet," Blum writes.

Blum notes that, as described in the statement Valve's Erik Johnson published on Steam Wednesday, the CS:GO publisher's main issue with gambling sites is that they use automated steam accounts that act as humans — not that they allow underage gambling. "If you run a search in the Steam Web API Terms of Use and Steam Subscriber Agreement, the word 'gambling' is nowhere to be found," Blum writes. "In fact, the API Terms of Use haven't been updated since July 2010, before the trading marketplace was even implemented and long before skins were introduced to CS:GO in 2013 through the 'Arms Deal' update."

Although sending shutdown notices to gambling sites for using automated accounts will effectively push them out of the Steam ecosystem, Blum says that if those sites find a way to operate without automated accounts, they will no longer violate Steam's terms of use, and will be free to continue operating unless Valve takes further action. He points out that one such site, Bets.gg, has already pledged to change its operations to better accord with Steam's terms of use.

"While it's not entirely clear how Bets.gg or other gambling sites could alter their behavior in order to comply with the API and other Valve user agreements, the fact is that Valve's current position leaves room for them to do so," Blum writes.

He also notes that if Valve's policy is universally enforced, it could impact sites that don't run gambling operations, but use automated accounts for other reasons.

"There is sufficient ambiguity in Valve's statement that it's impossible to predict how it will act with any level of certainty," Blum said in a Reddit post taking questions about his editorial. "Will Valve enforce the API restrictions against all third parties, or just gambling sites? Will Valve actively monitor the situation and eliminate new sites as they arise, or will it take a more passive approach? Will only certain types of gambling be targeted? We'll learn a lot more about the status of skin betting from Valve's actions moving forward than we did from the statement itself."

Blum is one of the founders of a esports-focused law firm IME Law as well as the Esports Integrity Coalition, a cross-industry effort that was launched earlier this month to encourage self-regulation around esports betting, anti-doping policies and match-fixing. He has written extensively on the topic of gambling in esports.

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. Follow him on Twitter, it'll be great for his self-esteem.

Jeff Fraser is a supervising editor for theScore esports.

The top 10 aces in CS:GO history

theScore esports Staff 13h ago

From Olofmeister's Tec-9 magic to Happy's historic Deagle ace, theScore esports is counting down the 10 sickest aces in the history of CS:GO.

RELATED: The Most Iconic Moments in CS:GO Major History

For more videos, be sure to subscribe to theScore esports on YouTube.

Great play or misplay : jdm's 1v5 Clutch Ace vs. EnVyUs at ELEAGUE Major 2017

theScore esports staff 1d ago

During the 2017 ELEAGUE Major's group stage, Team Liquid faced off against Team EnVyUs on Cache. It was looking like the match was in the bag for Envy. However, JDM came in clutch and claimed the ace against EnVyUs.

But was this a great play, or a terrible misplay?

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Astralis, VP, SK among teams attending SL i-League Season 3 Finals

by 2d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of StarLadder

HellRaisers has clutched the final slot for SL i-League Season 3, finalizing the team list for the the LAN final, after they defeated Team EnVyUs 2-1 in the European qualifier on Wednesday.

Here's the full team list for the tournament:

Invited Qualified
Astralis FaZe Clan MVP Project 5Power Club
Gambit Esports Natus Vincere TyLoo Fnatic
Ninjas in Pyjamas North G2 Esports HellRaisers
SK Gaming Virtus.pro Immortals Counter Logic Gaming

The tournament features a $300,000 prize pool and the event will take place on April 4-9 at National Palace of Arts "Ukraina" in Kiev.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

How did this happen: The R8 Revolver

by 2d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of theScore esports

In how did this happen, theScore esports takes a look back at some of the most busted, broken and insanely overpowered things to ever make their way into the world of competitive gaming. Each week, we'll look at one or more ridiculous characters, items, mechanics or modes that stand out as the most OP things that have ever been in the games we love.

For the most part, CS:GO is a balanced game. There are a few strong strategies and a handful of power positions to hold on certain maps, but CS:GO is a game about skill more than it is a game about picking powerful weapons or abusing gimmicky strategies.

But what if that wasn't the rule. What if there was one gun, the perfect gun, that could one-shot anyone. What if there was a gun as strong as an AWP, with the range of an AK-47, and it was cheaper than either of them? Well, once upon a time not too long ago there was the Revolvo.

How did it work?

In a December 2015 update, Valve introduced the R8 Revolver to CS:GO. It fit in the loadout slot reserved for the Desert Eagle, and at $850, it was only $150 more expensive than a Deagle, but at close range could drop just about anyone. There was also a really cool glitch that let you buy one for $700, in case you were looking to score a 5k on a budget.

With 115 base damage, armor penetration and better accurate range than an AK-47, the R8 could one-shot both armored and unarmored targets at close range with a body shot. Any headshot from an R8 was fatal, but that's nothing special but it did have enough damage to drop an armored enemy with an arm shot after they stood near a grenade.

The R8's secondary fire is also deadly. It's less accurate, but way faster and, at launch, it let you fire while defusing a bomb.

Yeah.

WTF?

The bomb defusal glitch aside, the R8 Revolver was so broken at launch that almost no one tried to defend it. There was no defending it. It was called a Pocket AWP by some, broken bulls**t by others, and the Revolvo by all.

No Deagle? No problem. The Revolvo was a little more expensive for your average Eco Round, but the stopping power was worth it. It was deemed too broken for pro play pretty much instantly, as ESL decided to play the then-upcoming EPL Season 2 finals on the patch before the R8 was introduced, and even FACEIT considered banning it from FPL.

Why even buy an assault rifle? With a better effective range than an AK-47 and the stopping power of an AWP without needing headshots, there wasn't really much of a reason to buy any gun that wasn't an R8. At a certain point, matches devolved into 5v5 Revolvo shootouts, like CS:GO was the world's least accurate cowboy simulator.

What Happened?

In what is probably the fastest turnaround this series will ever see, Valve nerfed the R8 almost immediately. One day after its release, the ability to fire while defusing the bomb was removed, and two days after that, the gun's damage dropped to 86. On top of the damage nerf, the R8 also lost some rate of fire speed and was given a worse spread.

What this meant was that the R8 could no longer one-shot an armored opponent at full health unless you literally stood inside their model, at which point you have bigger things to worry about. Unarmored opponents still died to a stomach shot at medium range, while chest and arm shots couldn't one-shot anyone.

The insane accuracy of the demon gun was still there, but accuracy matters a lot less when you have limited ammo and you can't drop someone in one shot. The R8 is still extremely strong, but it's more of a pocket Scout than a pocket AWP.

Following the nerf, the R8 instantly fell into obscurity. Sure, it still kills in one headshot, but so does the Deagle, and it does cheaper and faster than the R8. As a pocket Scout, the R8 Revolver is an inferior pistol. High-powered and accurate, but expensive and slow. As a pocket AWP though? The R8 was so powerful it turned every CS:GO player into a trigger-happy Clint Eastwood ready to draw. It was more than the R8. It was the Revolvo.

Correction: A previous version of this article said that the R8 was the first pistol added to CS:GO. In fact, both the CZ75 Auto and USP-S were both added before the R8. theScore esports regrets the error.

Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

Team list for cs_summit finalized

by 2d ago
Thumbnail image courtesy of Beyond the Summit YouTube

Ninjas in Pyjamas are the final invite to cs_summit, revealing the full team list for the event has finally been revealed, Beyond the Summit announced on Wednesday.

Here's what the full team list looks like:

cs_summit team list
SK Gaming OpTic Gaming Cloud9 Team EnVyUs
Gambit Esports Team Liquid GODSENT Ninjas in Pyjamas

The tournament features a $100,000 prize pool and will take place on April 19-23 at the BTS house. Further details, such as tournament format, are expected in the coming weeks.

This will be BTS' first foray into the CS:GO scene. They're best known for hosting the popular Dota 2 tournament series, The Summit, and the Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament series, Smash Summit.

BTS events are half tournament and half house party that puts the personalities of the players at the forefront, featuring on-stream antics, player casting moments and casual interviews.

Dennis "Tarmanydyn" Gonzales is a news editor for theScore esports who enjoys whiskey, D&D and first-picking Abaddon Slardar Clinkz Medusa Oracle a P90 my Souvenir Negev Discipline Priest Pharah. You can follow him on Twitter.

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