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Jeff Ifrah Explains Why the Skins-Betting Crackdown Just Saved Social Gaming’s Skin

Valve Corp’s crackdown on websites offering so-called skins betting on e-sports could help spur growth
of licensed betting in the industry by removing a potential source of scandal, industry officials say.

Washington State-based Valve this week issued 23 cease and desist orders to third-party websites that
use its games software platform Steam to enable gambling on e-sports with skins, or decorative
weapons covers…

Valve’s clampdown will be “absolutely helpful” to the growth of e-sports because the fact that sites
were “open to minors, promoted deceptive schemes and some were … absolutely cheating consumers”
would have “certainly led to federal and state enforcement”, said Jeff Ifrah, a Washington, D.C.-based
gambling lawyer.

“Any law-enforcement initiative would have undoubtedly negatively impacted the industry at large,” he
said…

Ifrah said a skins-betting scandal could have had impact far beyond just the e-sports betting impact, as
some consumer advocacy groups have claimed the sites offered illegal gambling because the skins had
real-world value.

“If a court were to agree with this allegation, the consequences for virtually any site offering free-to-play
games, such as social casino and social poker games, would have been potentially life ending,” he said.

“By enforcing its terms of service and shutting down the ability to bet or wager with its skins, Valve will
likely shut down these illegal gambling allegations,” Ifrah said.

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