CS:GO Lotto controversy results in new transparency measures for 'influencers'

Last year, YouTubers Trevor 'TmarTn' Martin and Tom 'ProSyndicate' Cassell were accused of promoting a CS:GO Lotto site without disclosing their interest in it (ie, that they joint owned it). Now, the Federal Trade Commission has ordered that they (and everyone else) should "clearly and conspicuously disclose" these connections in the future. 

"The Commission order settling the charges requires Martin and Cassell to clearly and conspicuously disclose any material connections with an endorser or between an endorser and any promoted product or service," the FTC announcement reads.

"The proposed order settling the FTC’s charges prohibits Martin, Cassell, and CSGOLotto, Inc. from misrepresenting that any endorser is an independent user or ordinary consumer of a product or service. The order also requires clear and conspicuous disclosures of any unexpected material connections with endorsers."

To coincide with this, the FTC has also sent warning letters to 21 social media influencers, following a mass mailout of 90 "educational letters" earlier this year. According to the statement, they warn that if an influencer is "endorsing a brand and have a 'material connection' to the marketer, this must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed, unless the connection is already clear from the context of the endorsement."

The FTC order follows last year's uproar, which eventually prompted Valve to take stronger action against CS:GO skin gambling sites. A class action lawsuit against Valve in relation to CS:GO gambling was dismissed in October.

Shaun Prescott

Shaun Prescott is the Australian editor of PC Gamer. With over ten years experience covering the games industry, his work has appeared on GamesRadar+, TechRadar, The Guardian, PLAY Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and more. Specific interests include indie games, obscure Metroidvanias, speedrunning, experimental games and FPSs. He thinks Lulu by Metallica and Lou Reed is an all-time classic that will receive its due critical reappraisal one day.