One of the biggest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling sites, CSGO Lounge, is attempting to get a licence in order to become a legitimate business.
In an update on CSGO Lounge, site founder Borewik said that it was seeking a licence in order to legally operate in many countries and accept eSports bets made by the community.
Borewik also told visitors that as of the start of this week (Monday, August 1st), it was limiting access to betting for users from regions where eSports betting is not legal. This will affect consumers from the UK, US and large parts of Europe.
The site lets visitors bet in-game items such as weapon skins on eSports matches. These are akin to chips in a casino and some have huge real-world value.
CSGO's attempts to acquire a gambling licence follows the revelation that some high profile YouTubers including TmarTn and ProSyndicate owned a CSGO gambling site that they were promoting. TmarTn apologised in a now-deleted video, declaring that his ownership in the company was always disclosed and public (if we were prepared to go through company documents). They are now facing a lawsuit.
Twitch has banned Steam gambling sites from its platform. And Counter-Strike developer Valve has sent cease and desist letters to these sites, too. Applying for a gambling licence is not likely to satisfy this request from Valve.
After all the recent events around virtual items and the official letter by Valve, which we have received as well, we were left out alone without any additional information or communication by Valve on this matter. We had to make a decision on how to proceed with Lounges as community place and entertainment service,” Borewik said.
The situation is highly confusing - we are not offering games of luck, we are not offering any transactions with real money or equivalents. Despite those facts, in order to avoid or reduce the confusion, we have decided to acquire a license to legally operate in most of the countries and be able to accept the eSports bets by our community, as if it would be real money.
Starting from Monday, 1st August 2016, we will start limiting the access to the betting functionality for users visiting us from countries and regions, where online eSports betting is forbidden. We will add additional registration and verification process and we require you to comply with our new Terms of Service if you want to keep using our service. We also remind that our service is only for users who are at least 18 years old.”