A class action lawsuit has been filed against Valve by a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player in the United States, with the latter alleging that the corporation has "knowingly allowed an illegal online gambling market" to foster through its in-game economy of skins and the trading and gambling sites that have opened around them.
Documents for the case have been posted online by Polygon. Michael John McLeod, who filed the lawsuit, didn't specify an amount for damages but is seeking to win punitive damages, as well as compensation for "damages suffered" from the purchasing and gambling of skins from 2014.
"[Valve] has thus unjustly enriched itself in retaining the revenues derived from enforcement of illegal contracts, deposits, wagers, purchases and gambling by Plaintiff and the members of the proposed class, which retention under these circumstances is unjust and inequitable because Defendant entered into or caused to be created illegal, voidable, and unconscionable gambling contracts with Plaintiff and other members of the proposed class, and has created an illegal international gambling economy operating in the United States and targeted at teenagers," the case alleges.
McLeod has also quoted from a conference in 2014 when a Valve employee was quoted as saying that the creation and trading of virtual items was the best way to encourage growth and monetisation of a game.
This was a deliberate strategy on Valve’s part: one of its employees explained at a developer’s conference in 2014 that the company determined that the "best way to get players deeply engaged in games ... was to give away virtual items of random value and encourage a robust market to trade them." That employee was quoted as saying: "This is not an accident.
This is by design. We see more blogs popping up and more and more emails from our players saying, ‘I’m not really sure what happened but I’ve been playing DotA for the last week or two, and I made $100 selling these items that I got.’ This is hugely successful for us."
I've reached out to Valve for a response. You can read the full case filing here.