Washington State Orders Valve to Halt All Skins Betting
The Washington State Gambling Commission has ordered Valve to halt all skins betting in the state. Gaming officials are citing the risk of underage gambling and an unregulated gaming environment as the reasons behind the request.
According to a press release the Commission released yesterday (and reported on by ESPN.com), this is not the first time Valve has been contacted regarding the practice of players wagering real money to win virtual products.
In February of this year, Valve was warned that the State considered the practice to be in violation of current gaming laws.In a statement to the press regarding the matter Washington State Gambling Commissioner Chris Stearns said:
In Washington, and everywhere else in the United States, skins betting on esports remains a large, unregulated black market for gambling. And that carries great risk for the players who remain wholly unprotected in an unregulated environment. We are also required to pay attention to and investigate the risk of underage gambling which is especially heightened in the esports.
The Commission has given Valve until October 14 to respond to their complaint and to explain how they’ll be complying with the State’s request.
There’s little doubt that plenty of eyes will be watching what happens in this case. Skins betting is a multi-billion dollar industry that could bring in as much as $7 billion this year. But with its core demographic resting squarely in the underage years, it’s a niche that’s getting more and more attention from worldwide gaming regulators.