An Australian politician wants Counter-Strike: GO to be defined as gambling

An Australian senator has announced that he intends to introduce a bill defining Counter-Strike: Counter Offensive as gambling, thanks to its weapon skin trading system. In what looks to be a world first, independent senator Nick Xenophon will introduce the bill when the Australian federal parliament resumes next month.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, the senator said that Counter-Strike and similar games "purport to be one thing" while they're actually "morphing into full-on gambling and that itself is incredibly misleading and deceptive.

"This is the Wild West of online gambling that is actually targeting kids," Xenophon said. 

According to the report, the legislation could make it illegal for Valve to solicit payments in exchange for items with different, or random, value. Or else, there could be legislated age requirements to play any game featuring a similar economy, or the requirement to warn of gambling related content.

Valve has only recently made meaningful steps to curb the fledgling – but already very prolific – skin gambling market. In a statement issued earlier this month, Valve made clear that it has no connection with any of the skin gambling sites that have emerged since they introduced in-game item trading.

"A number of gambling sites started leveraging the Steam trading system, and there's been some false assumptions about our involvement with these sites," the statement read. "We'd like to clarify that we have no business relationships with any of these sites. We have never received any revenue from them. And Steam does not have a system for turning in-game items into real world currency."

This statement was prompted by this month's CSGO Lotto scandal, which involved two high profile streamers failing to disclose their direct connection with the gambling site they were promoting. Valve sent cease and desist letters to over 20 skin gambling sites last month.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.