Popular Counter-Strike: Global Offensive YouTubers have dodged a fine, after promoting a gambling site for the popular shooter. Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Thomas “Syndicate” Cassell encouraged their viewers to spend money and gamble on virtual items at CSGOLotto, without disclosing that they were in fact the site’s owners.
As Eurogamer reports, the pair also paid other YouTubers between $2500 and $55,000 USD to run promotions, provided they didn’t disparage the site. The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) didn’t disclose their identities.
Neither Martin nor Cassell will face culpability for their past actions.
"The goal of the FTC isn't to be a punitive or draconian agency," said FTC spokesperson Mitchell J. Katz in an interview with Rolling Stone. "We are here to educate consumers about new markets."
CSGOLotto allowed users to pay and gamble on cosmetic items unlocked in the game. They aren’t the only site like this either; platform holder Valve was so fed up with the practices, that they issued violation notices to multiple other major gambling sites. Twitch also cracked down on CS:GO gambling streams.
"Consumers need to know when social media influencers are being paid or have any other material connection to the brands endorsed in their posts," said FTC exec Maureen Ohlhausen in a statement.
"This action, the FTC's first against individual influencers, should send a message that such connections must be clearly disclosed so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions."
Controversy surrounding gambling sites has flared up recently. Last year saw British YouTubers Craig “NepentheZ” Douglas and Dylan Rigby charged with promoting a FIFA gambling site to minors. Douglas was ordered to pay fines and costs of £91k for running the site, while Rigby was charged £174k.