In a fascinating episode of Robot Congress, podcast co-host and ‘Videogame Attorney’ Ryan Morrison talks at length about CSGO 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 already commented about information he’s received about other top-tier YouTube names being involved in dodgy CSGO gambling schemes, and (while not naming anybody specific at this point) pulls a little harder on that thread in the podcast linked above.
“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.
“How ridiculous that they filed this company in Florida … The websites you see that are still going to be operating in a month were filed in Antigua, like CSGOWild. That’s a country that doesn’t make you file any tax documents for 50 years, and it’s really difficult to find out who owns what. That’s just the place a gambling attorney would tell you to run your illegal gambling website.”
If CSGO gambling sites are able to find a way around Valve’s new-found dedication to enforcing its own Terms of Service regarding Steam accounts and their OpenID API, it seems logical that more of them would attempt to flee to Antigua-like havens outside of US jurisdiction.
Morrison also lays into Martin’s feeble excuses that CSGOLotto contained reference to being 18 years of age in the site’s Terms of Service, and reiterates that he firmly believes such sites were operating illegally.
“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.”
In case that somehow left any lingering doubt, Morrison adds: “I’ve had my research team looking at the gambling laws in all fifty states in which [CSGOLotto] operated and we have a laundry list of laws they broke.”
Addressing what possible punishment may await those involved in this ultra profitable YouTube and streaming racket, he reiterates “They’re looking at real felonies and real trouble here.”