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Twitch streamer banned for shady betting on 'Counter-Strike'

The game's gambling scandal continues.

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Recently, some high-profile video game streamers have been exposed as owning third-party gambling sites where players can bet on the outcome of matches for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive — an obvious conflict of interest. Last week, Twitch announced that anyone violating a game's terms of service would be prohibited from broadcasting, and they've followed up by banning a prominent streamer who had 1.3 million followers.

James "PhantomL0rd" Varga, who has the seventh-largest following on Twitch, had his account suspended indefinitely over the allegations. Four days ago, YouTuber Richard Lewis released a video alleging that Varga had an ownership stake in CS:GOShuffle, the betting website he extensively used and promoted, and that he had asked the site's technical administrator for typically-hidden gambling probabilities to increase his chances of getting valuable items.

To get around legal challenges, the game's betting community used weapon "skins" as a secondary currency, since those digital items can be sold for real-world money on third-party sites. But it seems enough is enough: news broke yesterday that CS:GO's creator Valve, previously silent on the issue, sent cease-and-desist notices to 23 gambling sites. It probably has something to do with getting included in two class-action lawsuits in Connecticut and Florida a few weeks ago for not doing enough to shut them down.

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