PsiSyndicate is the latest YouTube star to admit that some of his popular Counter-Strike: Global Offensive betting videos were the result of undisclosed paid sponsorship. He reveals his guilt in the video above, in which he says outright that he thinks now is the time to "expose" himself.
Four separate videos, including one with more than a million views, were "rigged," he said. Steamloto, a CS:GO betting site, offered to sponsor the YouTuber by offering him expensive, rare weapon skins to unbox on camera. In the videos, PsiSyndicate acts as though he happened to come upon the skins as a result of the random lottery, an idea he says was proposed by Steamloto.
"The total takings was $3,200 in skins, [rare skins] Dragon Lore/Ruby, $1,200 ($4,000 really, $2,800 of my own skins) of which I gave away," text appearing in the video explains.
Some viewers called out PsiSyndicate and Steamloto for the "scam" when the videos first went up, he said, but the YouTuber has long ignored these criticisms. Although the videos now include conspicuous wording to alert viewers that they are paid promotional efforts, the content creator, who has nearly 475,000 subscribers, said that he didn't understand the implications of leaving that out until now.
"The Dragon Lore video has 1.3 million views and was uploaded almost a year ago," he wrote in a YouTube comment. "YES, it looks dodgy, but the only way to REALLY expose someone is with evidence. The only way you'll find that is through me/the owner of the website. So no, I didn't do it for that reason, I did it because I realised I was stupid to even do it."
"Coming out and admitting this takes some kind of balls and some kind of regret"
In the video itself and subsequent comments, he references YouTubers Trevor "Tmartn" Martin and Tom "Syndicate" Cassel as inspiring his self-exposure. The pair recently revealed that they are owner and vice president of CS:GO Lotto, a betting website that they both used in their videos without disclosing their business connection. Martin has refuted allegations that the lack of disclosure is possibly illegal, despite the omission appearing to be in violation of the FTC's guidelines.
Cassel has been caught up in similar controversy before, after not stating his equity interest in a game he made several promotional videos for last summer.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive's betting community is a billion-dollar industry, but it's one that is currently under fire. One player has slapped Valve, which develops the popular shooter, with a lawsuit, implicating them in the growth of what he calls an illegal industry.
We've reached out to Steamloto about PsiSyndicate's partnership with the website. If you have more information, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.