Prominent YouTubers revealed as owners of controversial CS:GO gambling site

UPDATE: CS:GO founders added to Valve lawsuit


First come the half-hearted YouTube apologies, then come the lawyers. The CS:GO gambling drama (see below) is now entangled in a lawsuit that involves CS:GO Lotto and Valve.

The suit originally involved Valve but has now been amended to include CS:GO Lotto (and similar sites CSGO Diamonds and CSGO Lounge) in the Southern District of Florida. The suit says Valve "knowingly allowed ... and has been complicit in creating, sustaining and facilitating [a] market" where players and third-parties trade weapon skins like casino chips." It also alleges that Valve profits from these trades.

"Given that there is litigation pending, no further public comments will be given on this matter. My comments will be contained in legal arguments to the court, at the appropriate time," an attorney representing the CSGO Lotto site told Polygon.


Trevor "TmarTn" Martin has posted a vague, half apology on YouTube regarding his ownership of a CS:GO gambling site. In it he brushes off accusations of wrong doing while also seemingly taking the chance to show of his dog, his truck (nicely framed through a doorway) and his giant house. Wonder which of those the helped fund?

PCGamer contacted attorney Ryan Morrison, who offered this opinion on the "apology" from Martin.

“I can't say there's going to be prosecution but I've said a couple times and I still very much believe that it's as close to a sure thing as possible,” he said.

“If you look at FanDuel and DraftKings and how many states have gone after those guys now, they're gonna see that this is infinitely worse than anything DraftKings and FanDuel was doing and getting similar attention if not more attention. I refuse to believe there's not a legislator, a district attorney, a state whatever that's not going to make this into a criminal matter.”

Original story

Two prominent YouTube stars, ProSyndicate and TmarTn, have been embroiled in an ongoing scandal regarding the rise of 'gambling' with weapon skins won in the Valve-operated online shooter CS:GO, having been revealed to be the owners of a gambling site which they've been promoting heavily via their YouTube channels.

The site,, is one of many which allows players to use the skins they've unlocked in the game as chips, assigning them a value based on rarity and desirability. In many cases, these skins are then bet against other players, with a slot-machine style random number generator picking a winner who then keeps the pot. On other sites, the pot is bet against the outcome of other games of CS:GO. The keys used to open loot crates in the game must be bought with real money via Steam, and because the skins can be resold via the platform's trading system and 'cashed out' by buying games as gifts and selling the codes via various marketplaces, many such operations have already faced accusations of enabling unregulated real-money gambling, resulting in a class-action lawsuit being filed against Valve itself.

"I don't know why this is being treated as breaking news lol. I enjoyed playing on other sites and saw ways to make improvements to them, so I put a team together and built my own site"


This is not a small industry, nor a new one. A recent Bloomberg report estimated that around $2.3 billion worth of skins were wagered on CS:GO related websites in 2015 alone. Already, several calls had been made to investigate the legality of such operations, especially in the US, where gambling is heavily restricted, especially given that many of the sites don't restrict participation based on age or location, and even those which do are usually at odds with laws surrounding real-money gambling.

However, the most recent development, as discovered by YouTuber HonorTheCall and promulgated by H3H3 productions, is that was joint founded by TmarTn and ProSyndicate, who have both posted videos with titles such as WINNING BIG $$$$!!! (CS:GO Betting), showing them using the site and winning considerable amounts. Not only does that contravene YouTube guidelines about the disclosure of interests and payments, there's now considerable suspicion surrounding the veracity of the bets screened by the pair, with the suggestion emerging that, given their privileged access to the back-end mechanics, both could easily have fixed the outcomes in their favour in order to make for more persuasive footage.

Since, TmarTn has posted a video protesting his innocence, claiming that his ownership of the site was never a secret, whilst simultaneously denying that he was the owner at the time the video in question was made - despite being listed as the founder who submitted the filing documents which registered the company in documents discovered by HonorTheCall. Disclaimers regarding his ownership of the site have now been added retroactively to many of his related videos. He's also posted comments on HonorTheCall's videos, denying the accusations of impropriety.

"Yes, I founded," the comment reads. "That isn't a secret, I don't know why this is being treated as breaking news lol. I enjoyed playing on other sites and saw ways to make improvements to them, so I put a team together and built my own site. Making accusations that my winnings on the site and reactions are fake simply because I own a portion of the site is unjustified. Every single game that I played was real, every single skin that I won or lost was real. So please don't throw around false accusations and slander."

For his part, ProSyndicate has tweeted apologies to anyone who feels "mislead" by the situation, promising transparency in the future and denying that anything untoward has been going on with the betting mechanism itself.

Jas Purewal, digital entertainment lawyer at Purewal, says that there's still much to be done in terms of clarifying the laws surrounding this sort of situation, but there is definitely legislation which could be applied.

"Paid/sponsored content and disclosures by YouTubers/streamers is still a legal grey area, but actually there are applicable rules and the regulators are increasingly likely to respond to potential abuses of those rules, with the UK's ASA and US' FTC leading the way so far," he told "That said, actually knowing what to do under the different rules can be surprisingly difficult - sometimes because they say different things, sometimes because we do not yet have the decided cases showing what the rules mean or how they work. Despite, the overall spirit of these evolving rules is very much one of transparency to consumers, so the more that influencers can follow that spirit the more likely they are to comply with the rules.

"'Skins gambling' has not yet been legally tested by any major jurisdiction to my knowledge. In any event there is no single answer here, since gambling laws vary from country to country (or even among states/regions). There have been suggestions that some gambling regulators may see it as qualifying as regulated gambling, but nothing official. What we can say is that in general terms online gambling is heavily regulated in most countries, and in some is outright illegal, so any online service that is held to be online gambling would have quite substantial legal requirements on them - which could vary from the requirement to obtain a gambling licence (in the UK) to being prohibited and even treated potentially as a criminal matter (in the US and some parts of mainland Europe)."

As of July 1st, a notification on the CSGOLotto site has warned of "interruptions" to the service and attempting to sign in to the site via Steam was returning a message saying that "The URL you are attempting to log in to has been blocked by our moderators and staff. This site may be engaged in phishing, scamming, spamming, or delivering malware", but allows users to continue at their own risk. This has, however, now been removed.

H3H3's comprehensive summary of the events leading up to recent developments, which is an excellent primer for anyone who hasn't followed the case, can be found below. Strong language throughout.

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Latest comments (11)

Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd5 years ago
"Making accusations that my winnings on the site and reactions are fake simply because I own a portion of the site is unjustified."

Because it's alright to deceptively promote a site you own as long as you don't fix the results. Of course.

Not only are they scammers they're imbeciles.
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Christophe Danguien games developer 5 years ago
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Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer 5 years ago
Can someone point me at the specific youtube guidelines this contravenes? Was digging just now and can't find it, and it sounds like a useful set of guidelines to read if I'm considering releasing some youtube videos to promote my own game some day.
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Show all comments (11)
Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop5 years ago
Probably these ones, Bonnie

But notice you also have to comply with applicable local regulations, which in the UK (as Syndicate is) would be - I'm assuming Mr Cate is licensed to advertise gambling, or he's in trouble.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
Here's a funny. In the US, some host providers and blog sites won't even allow gambling-related posts if they include links to gambling sites located outside the country (or inside, I think) that want to take your money as soon as you click on whatever's in the post that sends you their way.
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Busted pants down. Red handed. Hand in the cookie jar. And Trevor Martin just keeps digging the hole he's in deeper by making ridiculous claims like he did not own the company from the start etc. He has shut down comments an all his videos. Interesting to see if that was that in regards of their public careers on Youtube.
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Egad, it's almost like fame goes to people's heads making those who actively seek it not worth listening to. This is new.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 5 years ago
The difference between Draft Kings and these guys is that the former already has their lobbyists in place making it totally not gambling with "campaign donations" and the like. These kids got nothing. They also don't have the NFL and their broadcast partners on their side, both of whom stand lose a large amount of money and advertising and sponsorship revenue. Anyone with half a brain knows that the score. it's just a matter of willingness to prosecute. If you have access to the US program front line, they did an excellent episode on draft Kings and fan duel.
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Thomas Kennedy Unemployed (Seeking work) 5 years ago
It's pathetic that these youtubers who make hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollers have to stoop to underhanded means just for a few more bucks

So many people would kill to be in their financial position but to them they would go to such scummy ways to get a few extra bucks.
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They'd better lawyer up.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 5 years ago
One question before I go off on a tangent: WHERE ARE THE PARENTS OF THESE KIDS?! What, did both scammers buy their freedom and own houses with that teen lotto loot? Feh.

YouTube needs to purge people like this from their site forever (there are probably more than this pair of dopes). Valve NEEDS to purge Steam of a lot more. Shady Greenlight "agents" promoting awful unfinished crap to kids or new gamers who know nothing but cheap prices mean good deals, scuzzy "developers" making money off LAZY reselling of Unity/Unreal/whaddever engine packs as full games, some Early Access scammers who charge close to full retail for demos before vanishing into the ether, and so forth and so on...

This CSGO nonsense, if it goes to court, may end up dragging them into the mix at some point and I hope to hell it's not a case of the company simply looking the other way as illegal activity was taking place because they were raking in money and didn't care where it was coming from.

And WTF? Who gambles on weapon skins or other not at all real game items with REAL MONEY? Being over 50 and smart, this BS simply baffles the hell out of me.

Ethics. Missing in action since the internet got monetized. Boo.
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