5
Jul
2016

Counter-Strike YouTuber offers apology in light of gambling scandal

Trevor “Tmartn” Martin uploaded a video apologizing for not disclosing his involvement in CS:GO Lotto, a popular gambling site that he and fellow YouTube creator Tom “ProSyndicate” Cassel have equity in and were promoting on their channels.

The two-minute video opens with Martin playing with his golden retriever before he launches into his public statement.

“I’m going to try to make this as short and sweet as possible,” he said, followed by an expression of gratitude for his fanbase and those who have stuck by him during the scandal, in which he was exposed by several YouTubers for obscuring the fact that he owned CS:GO Lotto during his promotional videos. He then moved into his involvement with CS:GO Lotto.

“Now, my connection to CS:GO Lotto has been a matter of public record since the company was first organized in December of 2015,” he said, a point that has been refuted by fans and others who have watched his older videos. (Martin has since made many of his Counter-Strike gambling videos private.) “However, I do feel like I owe you guys an apology. I’m sorry to each and every one of you who felt like that was not made clear enough to you.”

Martin said that the videos on his channels are legal, despite the lack of conspicuous disclosure that would seem to be in violation of the Federal Trade Commission’s digital advertising guidelines.

“I truly honestly hope that you guys give me an opportunity to earn your trust back,” he said. “Please also know that I’m committed to making sure that my YouTube channel, as well as all of my other businesses, are in compliance with the law.”

He went on to say that he does “not condone minors under the age of 18 to use CS:GO Lotto.” Unlike other Counter-Strike betting sites that do allow minors to place bets online, CS:GO Lotto only allows legal adults to gamble. “This is and always has been a clearly stated policy available in both the terms of service as well as the initial signup page on the website,” Martin said.

“I believe that every game offered on CS:GO Lotto has been legitimate”

“I’ve seen a lot of people focusing on the ‘under the age of 13’ section of our privacy policy,” he continued. “All the section states is that we do not knowingly record information of children under the age of 13 years old, in compliance with the COPPA Act. This has nothing to with and does not mean that we condone minors under the age of 18 to play on the site.”

Martin addressed further concerns that gambling wins shown in his and Cassel’s videos were illegitimate, due to his ownership of the website.

“I believe that every game offered on CS:GO Lotto has been legitimate, and I am committed to making sure that that remains true,” he said. He then closes out the video with another round of thanks for his subscribers, who number in the millions.

The apology video stands as Martin’s only Counter-Strike video that remains on either of his two YouTube channels. Despite the controversy, he’s maintained a regular social media presence and posted several other gaming-related videos to his channels.

“I do feel like I owe you guys an apology”

The exposure of YouTubers with financial stake in the gambling sites they promote is just the latest development in the ongoing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive legal drama. A member of the game’s community filed suit against Valve in late June, charging that the company facilitated underage betting and other unlawful practices.

Since Cassel and Martin were exposed as being involved in CS:GO Lotto, others have come forward about their similar relationships to betting sites. We’ve also spoken to a lawyer who called out Valve for not addressing the accusations of its involvement with the gambling community.

Update: Martin’s legal counsel has issued a statement about his ownership of CS:GO Lotto. Obtained by PC Invasion, the statement reiterates much of what Martin said in his video.The ownership interests in CS:GO Lotto have been public record since the company organized in December 2015.

“It is important to understand that winners on the website are randomly determined by both algorithms and computer code,” it reads. “The odds of winning games played at [CS:GO] Lotto are not more or less favorable to any players. The company has fail-safe measures in place to prevent any person and any player from independently changing or manipulating the outcomes of any games played.”

Martin’s lawyers also said that the owner “finds it deeply troubling that statements against both the company and its owners are not supported by facts and lack a serious understanding of ‘gambling,’ as that term is legally defined. In this way, [CS:GO] Lotto is materially different from its competitors who operate other game play websites that may, in fact, cross the line of legality.”

We’ve reached out to the law firm representing Martin for further information about any pending legal suits. If you have any more information regarding this or other controversies in the Counter-Strike gambling and YouTube communities, drop us a line at tips@polygon.com.

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