By now most of you are probably aware of the fact that YouTubers Thomas ‘ProSyndicate’ Cassell and Trevor ‘TmarTn‘ Martin were caught out in a gambling fiasco, but if you weren’t… strap yourselves in. The pair made videos showing them using gambling site, CS:GO Lotto, where people can pony up their Counter Strike skins to win pools of other people’s skins based on a coin toss. The winner can then sell the skins elsewhere for actual money, and good money at that with some skins being worth thousands.
The videos Cassell and Martin made showed them winning big on CS:GO Lotto, which made the prospect of using it seem appealing to people who like easy money (e.g. everyone). Oh, they also didn’t disclose the fact that they own the site at the time… which has proven to be certifiably not cool. They consistently posted videos about the thrill and financial gains of the site, never once overtly stating they own it.
Aside from being unethical as fuck, this dick move has raised alarm bells of fraud, because yes, those times they used their own product to show it makes you money from virtually nothing WITHOUT saying they owned it is just the worst. Scientists could run lab tests on this whole situation and they would get back unadulterated “this is the worst” readings.
To reiterate. This. Is. The. Worst.
In May of 2015 the Federal Trade Commission in the US specified that bloggers, vloggers and froggers had to state when they were promoting something in their videos. A rule that in general is good for everyone involved and something which people only had to look to Geoff Keighley’s legendary “this is the worst” event to see how much people hate insidious promotion.
Receiving money from a company without disclosing it is something that should make any respectable content creator shrivel up. Sure, creators need money, but be open about it. It’s a dicey situation when companies offer money to journalists for discreet advertising, and it’s something that LoadScreen has encountered before, causing the fury of a thousand suns to boil up inside of me, which you can read in this open letter.
Since the awfulness hit the fan with this CS:GO saga, Tmartn started to go into full guilty man mode and attempt to burn the evidence, not realising that the entire internet isn’t an easily distracted infant. He added disclosures to old videos, which people can see weren’t there at the time of upload via archives. When this was found out the videos were straight up deleted, meaning that everyone forgot about this whole thing and it’s now fine. He also went on a counter strike (yes I’m, fucking brilliant) and started accusing the people exposing his misdeeds of being out to get him, even going so far as to question how they sleep at night. That’s a power move in douchery right there.
Speaking of douchery, Martin did upload an apology video recently where he essentially blames his viewers for not already having read his name on CS:GO Lotto’s public business register. Martin took the video down, but it’s since been re-uploaded by a variety of different YouTube accounts. I wish I could write more about it, but it’s kind of a black hole of awfulness.
Just watch it here, no positive thoughts can escape its pull.
So Tmartn cocked up his PR a fair bit, but how did ProSyndicate go with shovelling away his guilt? Not much better is the answer.
I apologize to anyone who feels mislead regarding the ownership of @CSGOLotto. I will always be more transparent from here on out!
— Mr. Syndicate (@ProSyndicate) July 4, 2016
Yeah, read that. Read it again. Soak it in. Yum. Yummy. Thank you.
So Mr. Syndicate used the same logic I use when apologising to my partner for something I don’t feel was even that bad, like eating a biscuit she wanted. “I’m sorry you feel that way” doesn’t work for defrauding masses of people, and there really is no other way to look at this.
The roots of this nasty clusterfuck go further, as YouTuber Lewis Stewart AKA PsiSyndicate admitted he accepted cash and skins to make videos for a different Counter Stike lotto site, Steam Lotto. And he also admitted that the videos he made were set up so he would win. I didn’t embed the video because it’s painful to watch, at one point he even says he has balls to admit being disingenuous. To cut to the chase I’d say it takes more balls to say no to receiving money and not scamming your viewers, but that’s just me. The real lesson from this exposure video is that the issue is probably much further spread than initially thought.
So what can we learn from all this? Well it looks like gambling for skins is an awful thing that you absolutely should not participate in because you are funding the literal devil, but also everything we see is not genuine. It sounds pretty straight forward, right? Well the fact that this scandal has made as big a splash as it has maybe indicates it isn’t. It’s a sad state of affairs, but really, being a grumpy sceptical individual who thinks everyone is full of shit shields you from being disappointed by anything. If someone on YouTube tells you winning money easily from a site is a thing and it seems too good to be true, insert second half of over used adage here.
To sum all this up, shame on you, you naughty naughty YouTubers. Oh and also can someone for the love of god stop Valve allowing any of this to happen? Steam doesn’t exist in Australia, so we don’t really want to ask.
UPDATE 12:15pm: Polygon are reporting that Cassell, Martin and CS:GO Lotto are being sued. The suit, submitted by an anonymous parent in behalf of their child accuses Valve of allowing the CS:GO gambling market to operate and they and sites like CS:GO Lotto allow millions of Americans, including minors, to participate.