YouTube gaming ‘stars’, TmarTn and Tom Syndicate have been exposed and shamed this week in an act of monetary fraud. Both stars were found to own gaming gambling site, CSGO: Lotto, in which they both frequently promoted on their successful channels for monetary gain.
CSGO: Lotto allows players to place down bets to win rare Counter Strike skins, essentially real life money for a virtual items. The skins themselves can be sold for thousands if you win the right item, but as always, the gambling site wins in the end.
Syndicate and TmarTn have both recorded videos showing themselves winning ‘BIG $$$’. It’s difficult to link the videos now as they have been removed, TmarTn introduced the site to his fans feigning he and a friend just ‘came across it’:
“I’ve been starting to bet a little bit more…” TmarTn said. “[A friend] has been hitting me up and we found this new site named CS:GO Lotto.”
“CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT CS:GO LOTTO” button flashes up on screen. “I’ve put a link down in the description, check it out. Anyway, we were betting on it today and I won $69 or something, so it was a pretty small pot but it was the coolest feeling ever!
“I ended up following them on Twitter and they’re now talking to me about potentially doing a skin sponsorship!”
My main issue with the aftermath of this controversy is how TmarTn defended himself, he has essentially blamed fans for not researching the site, as his name was under the American Companies House records for all to see. I’m sorry TmarTn, but if you are advocating people can win big bucks on this site, many of which are young teenagers, not many are going to investigate it before placing down their parents hard earned cash. The apology video itself has also been taken down, it was pretty half-arsed to say the least. Futhermore, TmarTn conducted his apology video in what looks to be in his mansion, purchased from his scheming profit more than likely.
This is not a salty attack, but at least be more humble about an apology if you’re going to make one. It does grate me as a regular viewer of many big YouTube stars, of how they have clearly taken advantage of their fan base and manipulated their trust, that’s the crux of it really. They are in a position where they are inundated with sponsors, freebies and an all round admiration from young fans. It’s a position where many hungry YouTube creators are struggling to put bread on the table with their channels and would love to be in their position. The market is so saturated with ‘gaming’ channels, it can be a real undertaking for any one to actually achieve their level of YouTube stardom these days.
I am not getting on my high horse here, we have all done things in life we’re not proud of, but it was not only the knowing act of fraud that was bad but the absolute erroneous apology TmarTn released that really egged the fraudulent pudding. TmarTn is not making any further comments regarding the scandal, and Tom ‘Syndicate’ Cassell has also been very quiet. Their lawyers have probably told them to zip their lips and considering the way they have conducted themselves so far that seems for the best. I wonder if their lawyers are getting paid via the profits of CSGO: Lotto?
What will be interesting about this furore, is the outcome of the legality behind it all. Yes, it’s illegal to endorse/promote a product that you directly profit from and Ryan Morrison, a Video Game Attorney, answered some burning questions on Twitter:
There are some real life issues to be dealt with here, disclosure for one and regulation the other and what action will be taken against these two will remain to be seen. Overall, these two had masses of subscribers following their every word, and a YouTube creator and their subscribers is an intimate relationship and one that is built on trust. TmarTn and Syndicate must realise they have squatted down and dumped all over that trust.
I am sure this is just a drop in the ocean and has certainly opened a can of worms into an industry that is so easily forgotten about when it comes to legality. I just hope that some of my favourite YouTubers won’t be involved.
What are your thoughts on the scandal? What punishments should these two face? Let us know in the comments section below.