CSGO Lotto Owners Get Stern Warning in Skins Gambling Case

Counter-Strike Global Offensive Court Case

Cassell and Martin ran a website for gambling virtual weapons, called skins on CSGO.

The YouTubers involved in the CS:GO skins gambling site escaped meaningful punishment in their trials. The pair, who ran a site which allowed underage players to gamble for virtual weapons for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, did not receive jail time, probation, or even fines.

Thomas “Syndicate” Cassell and Trevor “TmarTn” Martin were accused of using their YouTube channels to promote their gambling site against the YouTube terms and conditions. Worse, Cassell and Martin stood accused of allowing children as young as 13 to gamble on the outcome of 50/50 coin tosses, which determined who won “skins” — weapons which could be used on CSGO.

To convince others to use their website, CSGO Lotto, Syndicate and TmarTn pretended to be average gamblers on the site. With video advertisements like “How to make $13,000 in 5 minutes!”, their YouTube channels were popular with viewers. Because Cassell and Martin could change the parameters of the bets through their interface, the $13,000 they won was not a real depiction of CSGO Lotto.

YouTube Advertisements for CSGO Lotto

At no point during their videos did either let on like they were affiated with the site, much less note that they were owners. YouTube’s terms and conditions require advertisers to reveal their connection to the product they are selling. Cassell and Martin’s YouTube channels were taken down by YouTube months ago, due to violations.

The two also paid other “gaming influencers” to promote CSGO Lotto through their social media circles. Those influencers were paid between $2,5000 and $55,000 to promote the site, while their contracts prohibited them from saying anything negative about CSGO Lotto.

FTC Investigation of Cassell and Martin

When it was revealed that the two were promoting their site through YouTube, the Federal Trade Commission got involved in the investigation. It was thought the FTC might bring down large fines to serve as an example to others who might do the same.

Instead, the FTC ruled that the two should “clearly and conspicuously disclose any material connections with an endorser or between an endorser and any promoted product or service”. That stern warning from the FTC appears to be the sum total of the legal consequences.

Of course, however much the loss of their YouTube channels cost the men, the charges they ran a website which allowed underage gambling were more serious than whatever rules the two broke on YouTube. It does not appear the two face any further criminal charges, at least at this time. Some speculated they might face charges of promoting illegal gambling or even promoting illegal gambling to underage children. That does not so far appear to be a danger.

Valve Lawsuit by CSGO Parents

The chance remains that parents of underage gamers might sue Thomas Cassell and Trevor Martin. Some parents realized that their children had maxed out their credit cards on skins-gambling sites. Those parents sued Valve, the owner of Steam, where CS:GO is played by the most people.

The lawsuit stated that Valve was at fault because it “knowingly allowed, supported, and/or sponsored illegal gambling by allowing millions of Americans to link their individual Steam accounts to third-party websites”.

Later that year, Valve began sending cease-and-desist letters to skins-gambling sites for CS:GO.

It is possible, though, that the parents and their lawyers prefer to sue Valve, because it operates a massively profitable gaming community. As it stands, the fact that CS:GO was not quite as popular as other skins-gambling sites might mean they fly under the radar, so to speak.

FTC Sends Letters to Social Media Influencers

As a further response, the FTC sent 21 letters to social media influencers who promote skin-gambling sites to clearly idetify their monetary connection to those sites. Presumably, if those social media influencers do not remedy the situation, the FTC would come down hard on them.

FIFA Coin Scandal in the UK

Those looking for a contrast should examine a similar case in the United Kingdom. There, Craig “Nepenthez” Douglas and Dylan Ridgy were accused of violating the UK Gambling Act by promoting their FIFA coins site through YouTube and other social media sites.

In that case, Dylan Rigby had to pay a £174,000 fine, while Craig Douglas paid a £91,000 fine. In the case of Rigby and Douglas, neither man had to face jail time in the United Kingdom.