Valve Software has been challenged by an Native American tribe that operates a casino in the state of Washington and accused the gambler of promoting illegal gambling and exploiting an unfair competition announcement with casinos heavily controlled by the state and local government.
Quinault Country, which owns and operates Quinault Beach Resort & Casino in Ocean Shores, Washington, filed a lawsuit alleging that Valve has allowed the use of textured digital weapons known as “skins” in games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. online betting through third party sites. Valve has “exposed Washington residents to scams, dangerous and unequal gambling,” with so-called “leather gambling,” according to the complaint.
According to a lawsuit held last week in Grays Harbor County, where Quinault Tribal Government is headquartered, “Valve is well aware of the leather games going on, is well aware that the skins have real cash value, which has grown in popularity and value and actively promotes and supports leather games.”
The company is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. Valve has been challenged in the past and is at odds with regulators over allegations of illegal online gaming. The judge dismissed a class action lawsuit against Valve for alleged illegal gambling on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
The company has always stated that it has no links to third party gaming sites. In 2016, Valve announced that it had sent termination letters to more than 40 of these sites that used the company’s Steam gaming market for gambling, and closed the sites ’Steam accounts.
Despite the recent focus on leather gaming, the Quinault lawsuit claims Valve continues to support it. Quinault claims that leather gaming has helped favor games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which has become the main product of televised sports competitions.
Valve’s alleged involvement in leather gambling is detailed in much of the 25-page court application, but the case also claims that leather gambling is detrimental to casinos. Quinault Casino must take steps to ensure fair and safe gaming conditions and pay taxes and fees to the state and local authorities to operate. According to the complaint, Valve is not required to do any of these, which will lead to the alleged unfair operating conditions.
The legality of online gaming has become a battleground in the state of Washington. Last year, a major decision ruled that the parent company of Seattle-based Big Fish Games was promoting online games because the company’s casual casino game chips were considered “valuable” under state law because users couldn’t play without them.
While that case is still pending in court, it has paved the way for online gambling litigation. The Quinault suit also includes a fuzzy “worthwhile item” clause. The complaint alleges that the skins are valuable because they can be sold for real money on third party websites.
Quinault compares skins to casino chips and Valve to a bar where a lawsuit takes place in the back room. According to the trial, Valve is aware of the incident but is doing nothing to prevent it.
According to the complaint, “users buy chips from the bartender, play in one back room and raise money in another, all under Valve’s roof.”