News Worms
News Worms


FTC demands clear disclosure after CSGO Lotto betting scandal

FTC demands clear disclosure after CSGO Lotto betting scandal

Two YouTubers who promoted their own Counter Strike: Global Offensive gambling website without disclosing their stake in it will not be punished by the US Federal Trade Commission. The pair created videos with titles like "HOW TO WIN $13,000 IN 5 MINUTES (CS:GO Betting)", urging their fans to join in on the winnings.

Instead, any connection between an influencer and the product being promoted must be disclosed in a "clear and conspicuous manner". And others reminded influencers that disclosures must be easy to find, and that consumers shouldn't be required to click a link in order to find them. "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". (CS:GO Betting)", and "ALL OR NOTHING!

Martin and Cassell started CSGOLotto, Inc and its website in late 2015, according to the FTC. Counter-Strike developer Valve has faced class-action lawsuits because of its previous lack of policing of these sites, with CSGO Lotto being one of the more prominent examples. But the FTC had only reached settlements with the companies, raising a question of when-if ever-the agency would directly go after the influencers.

Martin and Cassell are also social media influencers who have gaming channels on YouTube with millions of followers.

The Commission's complaint alleges that Martin, Cassell, and their company misrepresented that videos of themselves and other influencers gambling on the CSGO Lotto website and their social media posts about the website reflected the independent opinions of impartial users of the service.

In addition, the FTC have updated their Endorsement Guidelines and, relating to a separate incident, sent "warning letters" to 21 "Influencers" who had previously been contacted in April 2017 with "educational letters". However, it did said that the pair could face amends of more than $40,000 per violation if they fail to "clearly and conspicuously disclose" any future activity.

In June of a year ago, it was revealed that both TmarTn and Syndicate had ownership stakes in CSGO Lotto.

A series of videos last June revealed TmarTn and Syndicate had ownership of CS:GO Lotto and that in their videos promoting the website, they failed to disclose that information.

The warning letters cite specific social media posts of concern to staff and provide details on why they may not be in compliance with the FTC Act as explained in the Commission's Endorsement Guides.

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