Video gaming and gambling is back in the news, as Valve faces another shot across its bow in the controversial in-game skins and loot crates saga.
The Native American Quinault nation filed a lawsuit in the state of Washington against the gaming company, stating they do not have the licence to operate gambling in the state of Washington, which they allegedly still operate in a disguise with their in-game skins.
The Quinault Indian Nation owns and operates the Quinault Beach Resort & Casino, which has generated revenues which the tribe uses to improve the lifestyle of the tribe members.
In order to protect the integrity of its gaming license, the Quinault Nation has launched proceedings against Valve, the latest in a growing line of legal battles, this time specifically targeting Valve’s well-known CS: GO loot boxes.
The Quinault Nation’s lawsuit claims that the mechanic behind CS: GO loot boxes too closely mimics the feel of a slot machine. Additionally, the skins obtained through loot boxes hold a monetary value, which under Washington state law means Valve would need a gambling licence, which they do not have.
This is not the first rodeo for Valve when it comes to appearing in court because of their CS: GO loot boxes i.e. skins.
In 2016, Valve had to halt their so-called “gambling” of skins through Steam after an order from the Washington State Gambling Commission. Back then, their spokesperson made it clear that their API nor their user agreements allow them to run any gambling business. The same year Valve faced another lawsuit, which just like the first one, failed to “hold any water”.
But, as they say, third time’s a charm.
While superstition is not something Valve should be afraid of, it’s the recent events in the world of video games and gambling that should grab their attention.
Valve is not alone when it comes to being accused of gambling ties to their loot boxes. Most recently, we saw Epic games forced to remove blind loot boxes from Fortnite after a lawsuit which took place earlier this year.
The lawsuit against Valve is 24 pages long, and urges Valve to stop offering the “crate opening online slot machine” until the examination from Washington Gaming Commission, who will then determine if a gambling licence is needed. For those who want to go through the lawsuit themselves, it can be found at the following link.
Being that it’s a fresh blow delivered to Valve, there has not yet been an official statement from the company on the topic. They have managed to fight off the lawsuits regarding their CS: GO skins “gambling” before, but the question remains; can they do it for the third time?