Welcome to “The Know”. I’m Ashley Jenkins. And I’m Ryan Haywood. Two YouTubers are going up in molotov cocktail flames. Thanks to a Counterstrike gambling scandal that blew up on them over the weekend. The allegations could lead to both felony charges and jail time. BOOM.
Serious…. If you ever wanted to watch a social media meltdown, unfold in real time, now is your chance The YouTubers in question are Trevor “Tmartn” Martin, and Tom “Syndicate” Cassell. A pair of content creators that have over 10 million subscribers between the two of them. While they focus a lot on gaming and “Let’s Plays”, a huge chunk of their content centers around streaming themselves making valuable bets with CS:GO skins on the website: CS:GO Lotto. Now it’s been discovered that Tmartn and Syndicate have been promoting the site without disclosing their affiliation with it. Not only are they affiliated with it, they own it. They are the actual owners. If you’re wondering, it is actually super illegal that they neglected to mention any of that until this.. well actually, they didn’t want to mention it did they? They kind of got outed. Yes. For those who don’t understand the ridiculous world of Counterstrike:GO skins, you’re not alone. You can win crates in game which can then be opened by purchasing a $2.50 key from Valve. Inside the crates are a variety of skins for guns and knives. Weirdly enough, these skins are in enough of a demand that they’ve been ascribed real world value. Not only can you trade or sell skins to other people, you can also go to other third party sites, like CS:GO Lott and gamble them for chances to win a whole pool of more valuable skins which can then be sold for money elsewhere. So it’s a very complicated economy, but, you know, welcome to the internet. We love to make stuff complicated and crazy. It’s Fun!
HATS! So Tmartn and Syndicate have allegedly been making videos of themselves winning big on a site that they own and encouraging views to go gamble with valuable skins there and the house gets kind of a little take of every transaction. And that’s not even mentioning that we’re talking about underage gambling here either. Oh… oops… yeah. This discovery was made by a YouTuber “HonorTheCall”, who’s investigative work uncovered CS:GO Lotto’s Articles of Incorporation, which were orignally filed by, none other than, Martin. And included the names of Martin and Cassell as the President and Vice President of the company. H3H3 Productions gave HonorTheCalls video an enormous signal boost with their video “Deception, Lies, and CSGO” which now has something like 3 million views in just a couple of days. so.. people care about this stuff.
They’ve noticed. In response to the allegations that TMarTn and Syndicate deliberately obscured this information from their viewers, TMarTn made a, now deleted, response video saying he’s never hid the fact that they were affiliated with CS:GO Lotto. He also said he wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if he knowingly deceived his fans and his viewers. I’d say that explains the bloodshot eyes.. H3H3 called him out after that by playing footage of the first time TMartn introduced his fans to CS:GO Lotto where he said “A friend has been hitting me up and we found this new site named CS:GO Lotto.” “I’ve put a link down in the description. Check it out. Anyway, we were betting on it today, and I won 69 dollars or something, so it was a pretty small pot. But it was the coolest feeling ever.” I bet it was. I mean come on. That sounds just like “Hey guys. I own this new company. You should check it out. And you should definitely gamble stuff and you should give me some of the money, right?” “The best part of the 69 dollars is I got a cut on the back end.” The best part is the 69… heh… I’m sorry. I’m an adult… In an effort to soften the blow, and appear to be on the “up and up”, TMarTn then began editing all of his CS:GO Lotto videos adding a disclaimer to each one of the descriptions. But, the internet never forgets.
Worse than an elephant. And a quick use of the WayBackMachine is enough to see the disclaimers were never there in the first place. And once all that broke, everything went into full on meltdown mode for the pair. TMarTn has since made all of his CS:GO Lotto videos private, and even had to disable comments and ratings on the rest of his videos to keep them from getting completely bombed by people wanting answers. Following the fan eruption, Redditors began digging through some of Martin’s past content unearthing a few pieces of evidence that may not look too good for him now. Doing the lawyers job for them, good job, Reddit. First there was a tweet pumping CS:GO Lotto, also acknowledging the skins can be traded for money. Indicating that he knew exactly what he was doing. Right. There was another video, now removed, but rehosted by various YouTubers Of course it is
Uh Huh. Never Forgets Showing a stream where Martin realized, mid broadcast, he was logged in to CS:GO Lotto as a bot/admin for the site rather than himself. The CS:GO Lotto bot facilitates transactions of skins and betting. So the video shows that Martin and Syndicate did have direct access to the back end which means they could potentially rig bets in their favor on their videos. It’s not ‘proof’ by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t look good. This is actually the subject of one of HonorTheCalls videos which accused them of stacking the system in order to send more traffic to their site. Once the feeding frenzy started, others began publicly distancing themselves from Martin including Team Envious, a professional CS:GO and COD eSports team of which Martin owns a minority stake. In a letter posted on their site, Envious essentially threw him under the bus, saying “Even though we’ve had little use for Trevor’s services, we have always honored his SMALL ownership stake and equity. This held true even when our company has seen monumental growth and Trevor’s contribution to the company has been very minimal or completely absent.” Well I’m glad they went light on that one, goddamn. As for what happens next from here, there’s evidence this might not be one of those internet fiascos that just blows over after a couple of weeks. This one might last. Famed video game attorney, Ryan Morrison, has been incredibly active on Twitter since this story broke. Laying out just how big of a problem this could potentially be for Martin and Syndicate. The other day Morrison tweeted “It’s definitely illegal, and definitely reported to the FTC.” Yeah. That ‘FTC’ stands for Federal Trade Commission in case you’re wondering. And their job is to protect consumers from shady and illegal business practices. According to FTC law on endorsements, required disclosures must be clear and conspicuous. It goes on to say that repeat disclosures are necessary for ongoing endorsements and also states that “If a disclosure is necessary to prevent an advertisement from being deceptive, unfair, or other violative of a Commission rule, and it is not possible to make the disclosure clearly and conspicuously, then that ad should not be disseminated.” Violation of these statutes could result in both felony charges and jail time for the pair, so yeah… that not just a small penalty they could be facing. That’s no slap on the wrist. No. When you add this to the recent class action lawsuit from a couple weeks back, For the same topic.
For the very same thing… We’ve officially got a big ugly spotlight on Countstrike Gambling Scene. One that doesn’t look too good for Valve. It probably won’t be going away anytime soon if some follow up tweets from Morrison are any indication. The attorney also tweeted that “I’ve been ranting against these criminal sites for now. So happy to see everyone same page. More sites are similar. Coming soon. Unfortunately for Valve and the CS:GO scene, all of this is going down right before ESL 1 Cologne. One of the hugest events of the year for CS:GO and eSports in general.