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Here's why everyone's talking about Counter Strike gambling and YouTubers

Timeline full of people shouting about CS GO and Youtubers? You're not alone. Two high profile YouTube stars, ProSyndicate and TmarTn, have been revealed as owning a Counter Strike: Global Offensive skin gambling website. This alone isn't news but, as revealed in the below video from h3h3pProductions, (opens in new tab)the pair appear to have been promoting the site in videos to their combined subscription base of more than ten million people without disclosing their affiliation. 

CS: GO Lotto (opens in new tab)allows players to gamble skins which are worth money in the real world. While this isn't technically seen as gambling as the items standalone aren't immediate cash, Valve has already had a lawsuit filed against it for allowing such activities to continue unregulated. A Bloomberg article (opens in new tab) referenced in the below video states that the CS:GO skins market was worth more than $2.3  billion in 2015 alone.  This isn't small change. 

The video is a great intro to the concept but reveals the worrying link to ProSyndicate and TmarTn. In numerous videos, the pair "win big," with video titles promoting up to $13,000 in "winnings". Despite now arguing on Twitter that it has always been clear that TmarTn was the president of the company and Syndicate the VP, evidence to the contrary seems to be popping up everywhere. LinkedIn profiles don't have the company listed and in one video TmarTn describes "discovering" the website that day.

 

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This isn't the first time that prominent YouTubers have been questioned for not disclosing affiliations but this seems far more insidious than an unrevealed paid promotion. There is now suggestion that the winnings of the pair in videos could easily have been constructed from having access to the inner workings of the gambling site but Syndicate assures that this is not the case.

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Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in gaming, technology, and entertainment. She is the presenter of BBC Radio 3’s monthly Sound of Gaming show and has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland. She can also be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, Netflix UK's YouTube Channel, and on The Evolution of Horror podcast. As well as her work on GamesRadar, Louise writes for NME, T3, and TechRadar. When she’s not working, you can probably find her watching horror movies or playing an Assassin’s Creed game and getting distracted by Photo Mode.