Disclosure: SPOUT 360 does not promote gambling; all videos are for informational purposes only.
Remember the huge scandal surrounding the situation where two YouTubers were sued over promoting a gambling website they owned through staged videos where they pretend to win big to entice viewers to participate and inevitably lose their money? Apparently, it was staged because being the owners of the site, they have access to information such as the algorithm that the site uses to determine who wins a bet.
For example, here is one such staged video made by one of the owners of the site claiming to have won US$2000 in in-game items:
Well, Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Tom “ProSyndicate” Cassell—better known as the founders and owners of CSGO Lotto, an esports gambling site utilizing in-game items—have settled their charges with the Federal Trade Commission. The order from the FTC is the first of its kind, as it is the first targeting “individual social media influencers.” As such, this order sets a further precedent for all individuals that use social media as part of their businesses.
To summarise, they are now required to disclose their connections with any advertised services in the future, and can not pay others to advertise for them without an explicit disclosure that it is an advertisement. Failing which would result in a fine of about US$40,000.
Whether or not the pair will face criminal or civil charges is still up in the air, but the precedent set by a similar case in the UK was staggering. Two YouTubers that had set up a gambling website using in-game items from the FIFA franchise ultimately pled guilty and were issued fines of a combined US$330,000.
Breaking It Down
There are two kinds of CS:GO gambling, The first, which is merely betting on a random outcome, such as a dice roll or a coin flip is the really shady one, as one can not know beforehand whether the algorithm the owners of the site have made is truly ‘fair’. This is also the kind of gambling that would most likely lead to addiction as people have this idea that it is random chance and they are bound to win eventually if they keep playing. That ad from the Singapore Police Force with the tagline “Just give me one more chance, I’ll win it all back” comes to mind.
The other kind is betting on the outcome of an esports match, where you can place bets on one team and get returns if your team wins, even moreso if they are the underdog. This is similar to betting on soccer teams or other sports teams and offers prospective gamblers an opportunity to make informed decisions before betting. (e.g. What is this team’s current win record? Is the opponent a team they have traditionally struggled against?)
One can argue that this system fair in the sense that e-sports teams are generally hesitant to fix matches due to the harsh precedent in consequences imposed by Valve on match fixing, set by the iBuyPower scandal a while back. As such, the onus is on the gambler whether he wins or loses, as he can make his decision to make bets based on the information that is readily available online.
Of course, the issue with this kind of gambling is that in the real world, betting on sports teams is restricted by age in many countries. However, it is virtually impossible to police every single account that bets on e-sports. As such, e-sports betting websites such as “csgolounge” have come under fire for allegedly promoting gambling to children.
Just like any recreational activity, betting can be fun, but only in moderation. Most people who lose too much money from it either fall in the “I’ll win it all back” trap or end up betting more than they can afford.
What do you think about this CS:GO scandal, and esports betting in general? Bring up the discussion on our Discord channel.