FTC Decides Against Punishing YouTube Duo for Promoting CS:GO Gambling Site
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States has finally concluded an investigation into a major gambling den that shook Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) by its roots last year.
Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Thomas “ProSyndicate” Cassel had gained a significant following on YouTube from where the duo promoted the CSGOLotto.com website around the clock as a premium destination for players to place bets and rake in valuable in-game items.
What they failed to disclose was that they were the actual owners of the gambling platform. It was also later revealed that their videos were rigged to show a greater chance of winning bets in order to attract would-be gamblers to burn their real-world money.
It now comes as a surprise that the FTC has decided to not impose any fines, which means that both individuals have managed to get away without any punishment. In return, they have agreed to disclose any endorsements going forward, as as its “influencer program” that paid other YouTube channels between $2,500 and $55,000 to promote the gambling website while avoiding saying anything negative. Should they breach the agreement and start any form of gambling service again, a fine of $40,000 will ensue for every infraction.
“The goal of the FTC isn’t to be a punitive or draconian agency,” the regulator told Rolling Stone. “We are here to educate consumers about new markets.”
The event of uncovering the real identity of the duo holds great significance in the life of CS:GO. It was only afterwards that Valve slipped on its legal gloves to send take-down notices and shut down several other popular gambling services.
They all offered cosmetic upgrades such as weapon skins as rewards that also have real-world value, and can be sold for large sums of money through the Steam Marketplace or other third-party platforms. The entire gambling aspect of CS:GO was estimated to be around $2.3 billion in 2015.