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Valve has begun issuing warnings to players to not use the high-profile CSGO Lotto website for the game Counter Strike: Global Offensive on Steam, after it was discovered that the said website was founded by some Youtube stars.

The two stars in question, Trevor Martin and Tom Cassell, better known as “TmarTn” and “Syndicate” respectively, have been listed as the president and vice president of CSGO Lotto, according to the h3h3productions report. The two youtube stars, with a combined 10 million fanbase, never disclosed their ownership of the website, which has led to speculation that the two stars may have been cheating the system at worst. 

The issue comes from documentation uncovered by a fellow youtube channel, HonorTheCall, that uncovered the documentation regarding Martin and Cassell’s ownership of the CSGO Lotto. The information has since been picked up by h3h3productions, who did a lengthy exposé showcasing both Martin and Cassell “winning” at the Lotto on several occasions.

CSGO Lotto is one of many sites that allow players to bet real world money or skins for a chance at winning virtual Counter Strike: Global Offensive Skins. The skins – which can be earned in the game by paying $2.50 for an unlock key that grants a random item – are often sold for large sums of money, sometimes upwards of $10,000 dollars. The winner, selected by a roulette wheel spin, receives a specific item gambled upon, while the website itself takes a cut of the bets.

Both Martin and Cassell have posted videos of not only using the CSGO Lotto website, but of winning on them, including a playlist of videos featuring the Lotto website. Those videos have since been taken down on Youtube. Both Martin and Cassell denied that the videos of them winning on the website were staged, and while admitting to ownership of the CSGO Lotto, have claimed that at the time of those recordings they were not a part of the company, which is contradicted by the records obtained by HonorTheCall.

In response to the entire controversy, Cassell has since apologized to fans on Twitter who felt they were misled by him. He, however, has been indicated in previous scandals before – promoting the game Dead Realm on his youtube channel without disclosing ties to the game’s developer, 3BlackDot.

Valve has issued a warning to anyone using the website on Steam as the scandal has slowly emerged. Any attempts to log into the CSGO Lotto website through Steam are given a notice by Valve that the website has been blocked because the website “may be engaged in phishing, scamming, spamming, or delivering malware.” However, players can still click through to the website at their own risk for the time being. 

Valve has come under fire for online gambling in recent years. A class action lawsuit has been launched against Valve because it facilitates gambling; with Valve providing a “grey market” where people can be easily ripped off via betting, trading and scammers. Because of the easy access to children and teens, real money gambling is a serious offense, and the lawsuit against Valve argues that the gaming company is purposely encouraging gambling because of the profits it can generate, with some estimates stating online gaming rakes in close to $2.3 billion a year in betting and skin purchasing on Steam. 

Update: Valve has apparently removed the warning entirely. According to a reddit post by a volunteer moderator named KillaInstinct explained that the CSGO Lotto website was flagged by a fellow moderator and given the warning, without consulting fellow moderators. According to KillaInstinct, “The URL blacklist is generally only used for malicious* links and blocks links throughout Steam everywhere and therefore used with extreme caution.” Malicious, in this context, means malware and phishing websites, not a website such as CSGO Lotto, despite the description notes scamming as a possible reason for the warning block. 

It should also be noted that a third Youtuber, known as PsiSyndicate, has come forward and revealed that he participated in rigged SteamLottos in exchange for promotion of that website. The story, reported by TechRaptor’s Brandon Bobal, can be found here. 

What are your thoughts on all of this? Leave your comments below

Robert Grosso

Staff Writer

A game playing, college teaching, erudite-minded scholar who happens to write some articles every so often. Have worked as a journalist, critic, educator and blogger for over five years now, with articles published (as user editorials) on Game Revolution and Giant Bomb as well as a contributor for the websites Angry Bananas and Blistered Thumbs. Now making TechRaptor my home.

  • Heresy Hammer

    Good on valve, fuck those youtube scam artists.

  • MT Silver

    Good on valve?

    Posting a small notice is not exactly combatting the problem, not to mention they created this grey market in the first place with their scummy skin trading system.
    They have a lot to answer for.

  • Jim

    Valve has not shut down these gambling sites that target the teenage audience of CSGO. They have indirectly created this market in an effort to line their own pockets. This is worse than the rampant Chinese gold farming in most MMO’S.

  • Casey

    I hope both of these fuckers end up sucking on the end of a baretta.
    Their apology reminds me of a different apology…

  • What’s so grey about it?

  • Hobo-Tobo

    It’s essentially gambling without any of the gambling authorities being involved.

  • Robert Grosso

    A lot of websites have done that before, because it’s not hard currency they can get away with it.

    There is actually legislation in the books that can stop this, the UIGEA. It actually made playing online Poker illegal, and discovered that several poker websites had issues with funding and segregated accounts after the IRS basically blocked all websites in the U.S. The block has since been lifted and three states have made Poker legal to play online again with regulation.

  • Is there a good explanation at *how* it works?

  • Robert Grosso

    how what works? The grey market?

    If so, not really. It’s why it operates still and can be shady as all hell.

  • Casey

    This “volunteer moderator” is unbanning several other sites at those sites’ requests.

    Personally, I see that behavior as steam allowing and supporting this grey market of nonsense.

  • Reptile

    And to think that all this shit started because they thought selling skins would be a good idea.
    I miss the good old times of CSS that you could get user custom skins from FPSbanana for free…

  • Reptile

    Also, funny seeing everywere (specially reddit) people shitting over Valve and blamming then for making kids gamble, even when CSGO having a age rating (not even entering the realm that parents should supervise what their kids do on internet) while no one loses their shit because the fact that Youtube and Twitch literally allowed these guys advertise gambling to children, whose were majority in their audience.
    And not only that but gambling is strictly forbidden in my country and I can still watch those videos / stream.