In Washington, a federally-recognized aboriginal tribe has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Valve Corporation amid claims that the video games developer is facilitating illegal gambling by allowing aficionados to buy and sell its textured digital weapons.
According to a Friday report from GeekWire.com, the legal action from the casino-operating Quinault Indian Nation was filed in Grays Harbor County and also alleges that Bellevue-headquartered Valve Corporation is profiting from unfair competition because it does not have to abide by the same local and state gambling regulations as the tribe.
Valve Corporation is the developer behind video games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Half-Life and Day of Defeat, which are often used in televised eSports competitions. The Washington firm is also responsible for textured digital weapons, which are colloquially known as ‘skins’, that can be used by players enjoying its titles or traded via the firm’s Steam software distribution platform.
It was reported that the 25-page lawsuit from the Quinault Indian Nation, which runs the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino in the small community of Ocean Shores, claims that the developer has ‘subjected Washington citizens to scam, unsafe and unfair gambling’ and has ‘profited handsomely for years from illegal online gambling’ while only making ‘token efforts to stop it.’
Reportedly read the Quinault Indian Nation’s lawsuit…
“Valve [Corporation] is well aware of the ‘skins’ gambling that goes on, is well aware that ‘skins’ have real-world cash value, which has increased their popularity and value, and actively encourages and facilitates skins gambling.”
Washington has recently become something of a battleground state when it comes to the various legalities of online gambling. This is purportedly due to a 2018 ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit against Seattle-based Big Fish Games Incorporated concerning the chips used in this developer’s Big Fish Casino title. The March verdict from federal judge, Milan Smith, reportedly classed these tokens as a ‘thing of value’ due to the fact that players were not able to enjoy the game without using the virtual coins.
The Quinault Indian Nation’s lawsuit draws a comparison between Valve Corporation’s ‘skins’ and the tokens from Big Fish Games Incorporated. It purportedly moreover associated these digital advances to real-world casino chips and the developer to a bar featuring staff that offer gambling.
According to the lawsuit…
“Users buy chips from the bartender, gamble in one backroom and cash out in another, all under Valve [Corporation’s] roof.”