Trevor A. Martin, going under the YouTube handle of TmarTn, and Tom Cassell, going by the handle of ProSyndicate, have come under fire from the community, from YouTubers and from the media for running a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling business known as CS: GO Lotto. The duo – along with several other YouTubers who were caught in the scandal – have been criticized for their lack of disclosure in having ties to the gambling outlet while promoting it on their YouTube channels as if it was just a random site they had encountered. Well, the Federal Trade Commission is aware of the scandal.
After reaching out to the FTC, I was first informed that they can’t speak about matters involving company practices that may violate the law until they’ve taken decisive and formal actions against said companies.
However, in a separate phone conversation I was informed that the FTC is aware of the situation.
Some readers questioned if this was something the FTC would even be concerned about, but I was informed by an FTC representative that…
“You should always file a complaint with the FTC if you feel [there was something in commerce] that you feel was deceptive or misleading.”
I was also informed that the FTC shares their database with over 1600 other law enforcement agencies, so complaints are not filed into a void.
In fact, one of the big questions a lot of people have had throughout this incident is whether or not situations involving international scams — such as the scandal featuring a Russian-owned SteamLoto gambling website and British YouTuber Lewis “PsiSyndicate” Stewart defrauding viewers to promote the site — could potentially be investigated by the FTC since they operate outside of the United States? Well, the answer is ‘yes’.
The representative clarified that even businesses operating outside of the United States can still be investigated by the FTC if American citizens have been defrauded by the business, saying…
“If you’re a consumer in the U.S., then it can still fall within our jurisdiction”
It was explained that the FTC Act covers the broad range of “deceptive acts in commerce”. This applies to all instances of fraud affecting U.S., citizens, no matter where you operate your business from in the world, whether it be in the United States, Madagascar or Russia.
On the FTC website it’s stated that they work with various international consumer protection advocacy groups from 35 different countries. So if you live in the U.S., and you’ve been defrauded by a scam or ponzi scheme or were misled through a profiteering ring, you can still contact the FTC about the act of defrauding using the consumer complaint form.
Following the news stories that broke about the potential laws and federal regulations that may have been breached by Trevor A. Martin, Tom Cassell and those operating the CS: GO Lotto website, Martin recently released a video [via HawkHopper] apologizing to his viewers and promising to be more transparent moving forward regarding his business operations. The name of the video is simply titled “I’m Sorry”.
[Update: Following the publication of this article the “apology” video was removed. However, an alternative mirror was re-uploaded and is available for viewing below.]
To quote Martin about his future disclosures on his YouTube channel, he states…
“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. This is why I do not condone minors under the age of 18 to use CS: GO Lotto.”
This is a very different kind of video compared to the one he released as a rebuttal to the videos published by HonorTheCall and H3H3Productions, where he firmly defended CS: GO Lotto and his videos, claiming that those posting the information about his lack of disclosure and business endeavors were attempting to slander him. Since then he has retracted that video.
As pointed out in the previous article covering this case, it’s illegal for a business in the state of Florida to solicit minors to partake in gambling that sees the trade or disposal of money, gifts, or “things of value”.
In the case of PsiSyndicate and SteamLoto, it not only involves breaching FTC regulation regarding a lack of disclosure for paid services, but it also involves deception by dishonest means, which falls under Britain’s 2006 Fraud Act, chapter 13, subsection 3. The dishonesty factor was proven when e-mails emerged showing that the SteamLoto site owner rigged the gambles for PsiSyndicate so he could unbox some high-value loot and lure in unsuspecting audience members to the gambling site.