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Ryan “Gorgon the Wonder Cow” Jurado
Thumbnail image courtesy of Washington State Gambling Commission

The Washington State Gambling Commission does not expect to find that Valve was sufficiently compliant with their requests, its director, David Trujillo, said over the phone near the end of local business hours on Tuesday.

“Valve knows what is going on because they issued their own letters. It could have been taken more seriously,” he said in the conversation.

Shortly after speaking to theScore esports, Trujillo’s office put out a short public statement saying, “Commission staff are reviewing this letter to determine if it is responsive to our request. The Gambling Commission will continue to evaluate its options regarding the violation of Washington’s gambling laws.”

“We’ll be determining whether or not it actually met what we ask,” Trujillo said in the interview. But he added that the commission did not expect to determine that they had, given the content and tone of Valve’s response.

Trujillo reaffirmed much of what the organization’s commissioner, Chris Stearns, had previously stated: that esports and video games are not arenas with which the WSGC is normally involved, and there is an underage gambling component to the complaints which prompted this investigation.

“For a company such as Valve to have set about on this business model,” Trujillo said, “For us to have said, ‘Hey, we believe you are doing this, we need for you to demonstrate how this is not the case.’

“They didn’t really do that. They talked a little bit about why they don’t believe that’s the case but they really didn’t demonstrate to us that they’re in compliance with our Washington laws … It sure would have been nice for Valve to have obtained some sort of legislative remedy for them to have operated this way if there was any doubt whatsoever in Washington’s laws.”

He said that they still believe Valve is facilitating gambling activities in Washington. “At this point we may end up agreeing to disagree with their interpretation of what they have said they are doing.”

But agreeing to disagree, in this case, could lead to consequences of some kind for Valve. “If we’re conducting an investigation, I don’t want to put what we’re doing out there,” Trujillo said.

According to Trujillo, all the criminal and civil options outlined in the commission’s original letter to Valve are still potential outcomes, including seizure of property or, potentially, criminal charges. “I would not have allowed that to have been put out there if I didn’t believe that it was the case,” Trujillo said.

Valve response to the commission said that they are do not “understand the legal or factual reasoning supporting this position, from the Commission’s letter or from our conversations with the Commission.”

Trujillo said that, in his view, the letter that Valve provided did not explicitly prove or disprove their compliance with Washington state laws.

“If we had received a 15-page response that would have said we looked at this law, this law, and this law, we believe this is how we are not facilitating or this is how we are being compliant, that would have facilitated a different reaction than if we received a response that’s this one,” he said.

“That’s why we’re determining just how responsive it is. And since we want to be very deliberate and methodical about this, I definitely don’t want to overreact and I don’t want to overreach.”

Ryan “Gorgon the Wonder Cow” Jurado writes about esports and freelances for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

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