Video Game Influencers Settle FTC Complaint Over Endorsement of CSGOLotto


In April, we noted that the FTC staff had sent "educational letters" to more than 90 social media influencers, reminding them of their obligation to disclose any connection they have to the companies whose products they promote. "This action, the FTC's first against individual influencers, should send a message that such connections must be clearly disclosed so consumers can make informed purchasing decisions".

A full breakdown of the case and investigation is available over on the FTC website, where the group has also posted a handy chart highlighting some disclosure do's and don'ts.

The FTC will however require proper disclosure from the pair and will force violations which come with a fine of $40,654 for each violation. Letters sent today cite specific posts by Instagram influencers the FTC believes may violate its Endorsement Guides. "(CS:GO Betting)." In all, Cassell's videos promoting the CSGO Lotto website were viewed more than 5.7 million times. These skins have real-world value and can therefore be sold for large sums of money by circumventing Steam, the Valve-owned platform where CS:GO is played.

Martin and Cassell started CSGOLotto, Inc. and its website in 2015.

The fallout prompted responses from both Martin and Cassell, with Martin posting a lengthy video apology in the hopes of clearing his name.

Finally, the complaint alleges that a number of Martin's, Cassell's, and the gaming influencers' CSGO Lotto videos and social media posts deceptively failed to adequately disclose that Martin and Cassell are owners and officers of the company operating the gambling service, or that the influencers received compensation to promote it.

Last year, various media outlets broke the news that Martin and Cassell ran the CSGO Lotto site. 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". They also reportedly paid YouTube personalities up to $55,000 for faked-up videos also showing them winning valuable loot. It has also issued an updated version of its official endorsement guidelines, indicating that it's taking the CS:GO Lotto story and its aftermath seriously. That's right, the two do not need to admit responsibility for any wrongdoings nor will they face any penalties for their past actions.