The Federal Trade Commission finished their investigation into the gambling scandal that rocked gaming last year during the summer. Over on the official FTC website they published the results of their investigation and suggested that Trevor TmarTn and Thomas “ProSyndicate” Cassell will need to disclose endorsements in the future.
According to the post, Cassell and Martin must disclose their ties and paid promotions in their videos and published content, and the FTC also sent warnings to other content creators as well, stating…
“The Commission order settling the charges requires Martin and Cassell to clearly and conspicuously disclose any material connections with an endorser or between an endorser and any promoted product or service.
“[…] Also today, the FTC announced that staff has both sent warning letters to 21 social media influencers it contacted earlier this year regarding their Instagram posts, and updated staff guidance for social media influencers and endorsers.”
Back in July of 2016, there was a big fallout involving the discovery of Martin and Cassell running a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling ring. They had been promoting the gambling site, called CSGO Lotto, through their Twitch streams and YouTube channels without disclosure. They were even paying other content creators and influencers to promote the site, too. This led to people reporting the duo to the FTC. Shortly after the reports the FTC acknowledged that they were aware of the complaints.
Parents were also rightfully angered that the YouTubers – amongst other influencers in the community – were targeting kids for the gambling sites, which resulted in the parents attempting to sue Martin and Cassel.
It turned out that the YouTube duo weren’t the only ones involved in promoting their business without disclosure. There was also various other Twitch streamers and YouTubers involved with various gambling rings for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, including members from the FaZe clan.
Some e-sports organizers attempted to justify it, stating that many competitive players just don’t make enough to make ends meet and will sometimes resort to operating betting and gambling sites. State commissions were not having any of it, and came down on Valve, who in turn came down on gambling sites, issuing a cease and desist to close up Counter-Strike-focused betting and gambling rings.
The Australian government also banned all e-sports related betting and gambling in the country following the incidents that snowballed out of the TmarTn and ProSyndicate scandal.
The FTC, however, states that if content creators continue to ignore the endorsement guidelines they will fine them a civil penalty of up to $40,654. The FTC also took this opportunity to update their guidelines regarding endorsement disclosures over on the official FTC website.