One YouTube personality has been caught up in controversy once again after it was revealed that he had been involved in promoting the latest release of Call of Duty just months after being at the centre of a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skin gambling site scandal.
A Murky Past
Trevor “Tmartn” Martin rose to fame on the video-sharing social media site after producing content based around the eSports title. Although in 2016, his reputation was tarnished after he was found to be in breach of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations. At the time he was heavily promoting a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) skin gambling site that he failed to state he owned.
Martin had set up the CSGOLotto.com with his close friend Tom “ProSyndicate” Cassell. The concept behind the site was that users could gamble real money in the hope of winning Counter-Strike weapon skins.
The rarest weapons had a very high potential market value on Valve’s Steam market place and are seen as a form of currency within the CS:GO community.
Unfortunately, Martin and Cassell broke FTC rules by giving the impression to their audiences that they had no association with the sites. The promotion lacked transparency and was considered deceitful. The pair also paid fellow influential YouTubers up to $55,000 to help promote the site.
The FTC Just Let Him Be
It took the FTC until September of this year to cast a ruling on the case.
In a judgement that provoked anger amongst the eSports community, Martin and Cassell were both spared the punishment of paying a penalty fine and neither individual was forced to admit culpability.
The FTC did confirm that in the future both Martin and Cassell will be forced to submit proper disclosure to the FTC and hefty fines will be enforced if necessary. These fines could be up to $41,000 for each infraction.
The Darker Side of eSports
It isn’t the first time that individuals within eSports gaming have come under fire.
Back in March of this year, YouTube sensation Craig “Nepenthez” Douglas was forced to pay fines and legal costs of £91,000 for managing gambling site FUT Galaxy. Douglas’ business partner Dylan Rigby was also fined £174,000.
The site exposed children as young as 14 years old to a facility of gambling using FIFA Ultimate Team coins.
One child is even alleged to have lost £586 in a single day.
Now, Martin is back in the firing line after he appeared in promotional material for the new Call of Duty: WWII game that was launched on 3rd November this year in partnership with a charity called The Race to Prestige that aims to raise money to help military veterans.
The Race to Prestige is an around-the-clock charity foundation that aims to link veterans up to new jobs after their military service has finished. It takes place in sync with each new release in the Call of Duty series.
A number of celebrities are brought on board to promote the fundraising event and the game itself. On this occasion, Martin was one of the individuals selected to promote the event and the new game.
Call of Duty publisher Activision hosted The Race to Prestige event this year and took the decision to get Martin involved in live streaming playing the latest game release on Twitch, along with other Call of Duty personalities.
The Game Causing the Fuss…
Call of Duty: WWII is a first-person shooter that is set in the European theatre of World War II. Developed by Sledgehammer Games, it is the fourteenth game to be released as part of the Call of Duty franchise.
Players must guide their soldiers through the historic events surrounding Operation Overlord as part of the 1st Infantry Division.
Is All Forgiven?
Activision explained the decision via email stating that Martin was a recognised “founding member” of The Race to Prestige and had “help(ed) to support the Endowment’s cause”.
The publisher failed to make a comment on Martin’s involvement in the CSGO scandal.
The eSports community seem less forgiving.
One commenter on Kotaku.com called alexstanfeld stated that, “This is what I hate about YouTube personalities in general. Even if they are shitty people, if they still push big metrics, who cares?”
Another commenter called 8BitPersonality said, “So the lesson here is; you can be an awful person, scam and deceive your fans, many of whom are children and have a court find you guilty of breaking the law and your punishment will be the continued support of your fan-base, the means to maintain your lavish lifestyle and be rewarded with expenses paid trips and promotional gigs by AAA publishers?”
All eyes are now on Activision and Sledgehammer Games to see if they continue to work in partnership with Martin.
Essentially, Martin is free to work with any individuals or parties he so pleases, if the interest is there. The industry might be willing to move on and put Martin’s shady past behind him but the eSports community are a bit less forgiving.