Has Counter-Strike fully recovered from its skin lotto scandal?

Jared Wynne • October 2, 2020 10:10 pm

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive YouTubers Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Thomas “Syndicate” Cassell shocked viewers when they continued to win big on a CSGO skin betting site. 

But in 2016, it was revealed that the YouTubers were the owners of the skin betting site and that the videos of them scoring were completely fake. The Federal Trade Commission settled with TmarTn and Syndicate in 2017 after an infamous apology was dropped. 

The terms of the FTC agreement required TmarTn and Syndicate to disclose their business ties to anything they endorsed on their YouTube channels. It wasn’t just that the two were lying about their ownership of CSGO Lotto. The videos were allegedly encouraging young viewers to gamble online illegally. 

In response, YouTube started to raise awareness surrounding online skin betting. One big YouTuber, HonorTheCall, posted a long, detailed video pointing out the evidence against TmarTn and Syndicate. 

It wasn’t good for TmarTn and Syndicate outside of streaming either. CSGO Lotto was shut down shortly after the Florida district court filed a lawsuit against both Valve and other third-party betting sites. It was starting to become bigger than just TmarTn and Syndicate’s deceitful video. 

 The scandal led to a massive debate with the FTC regarding whether online gambling should be allowed due to the possibility of the machines being rigged. This was further pushed when mobile casino games became available on rooted devices, potentially allowing them to play a modified version of the casino game.

Valve has since demanded that skin gambling operators shut down or they will face legal action. But despite the major shift in CSGO’s skin betting scene, the game is still going strong. 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive reached more than 1 million concurrent players on Steam in June, 2020. This is partially due to the ongoing lockdown and quarantine measures across the world. In August, the popular FPS slid down to 925,000 concurrent players, a slight decrease from the previous August in 2019. 

But CSGO has been around since August 2012. The CSGO community has proven it will prevail and loyally stick by their game no matter the scandal and no matter what new titles come out. In January 2019, CSGO had 20 million monthly users, double the figure from May 2016, when the scandal was taking place. It’s proof that fans will always come back to their favorite FPS title. 


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