In a fascinating episode of Robot Congress, podcast co-host and ‘Videogame Attorney’ Ryan Morrison talks at length about CS: GO gambling, the laws likely to have been broken by Trevor Martin and Tom Cassell’s CSGOLotto, and how deep the shady behaviour goes on YouTube.
Morrison has previously been involved in speculation and even the direct outing of several high-profile YouTubers that were violating gambling laws and FTC guidelines with their involvement in CSGO gambling. Morrison has spent quite a bit of time, both during this podcast and in general, calling out the anemic responses and apologies that have surfaced as a result of this controversy.
“We’ve now seen a lot of other streamers and organisation owners and individuals accused of things,” Morrison says. “I’ve spoken to a good majority of them. I think fingers are being pointed at some of the wrong ones, unfortunately. And I think some of the ones that are involved and have been doing the exact same thing that [Trevor ‘TmarTn’ Martin] and [Tom ‘ProSyndicate’ Cassell] have been doing are going to be heartbreaking for a lot of their fans, because they’re some of the last people you would expect.”
Later in the podcast, Morrison is almost incredulous at the decision Martin and Cassell (as well as fellow YouTuber JoshOG and a still unnamed fourth person) took in filing their CSGOLotto company paperwork in Florida. In the process, he makes direct reference to another site, CSGOWild, and its base in Antigua.
“Trevor [Martin’s] website did say 18 in the Terms of Service but that’s it. That’s not an age verification. That’s not an age check. That’s not compliant with FTC sponsorship guidelines, that’s not compliant with gambling laws, that’s not compliant with any state gambling law.”
“I think the government is seeing a lot of kids losing a lot of money here … [Martin, Cassell and JoshOG] owned and operated a website that allowed minors to gamble. They did no age verification. They did no geolocation, that we’re aware of. If that’s all true, and that’s all the case, it doesn’t matter if you make someone check thirty-seven boxes that says they’re 18, that’s not enough of an age verification to go on a gambling website.”
With the recent staunch stance Valve has taken, essentially shutting down the existing mechanism that these sites use to interact with Steam, it’s pretty clear that enough heat has been generated around the issue to warrant some self-policing. It’s unknown just how much of a legal response will result for the wider industry though. If the accusations of Morrison prove true and drop even more bombshells on the YouTube community, I would expect the likelihood of a stricter legal response to increase proportional to the potential fallout of these revelations.