YouTube personality PsiSyndicate has admitted that two videos which depicted him using a Counter Strike: GO (CS:GO) weapon-skin gambling website were rigged with pre-determined outcomes, in an effort to draw more users to the site in return for rare items.
PsiSyndicate - real name Lewis Stewart - revealed in a video posted on his YouTube channel that he neglected to disclose the agreement made with the site called SteamLoto.
The UK-based streamer highlights the two videos in question - "CS:GO — AWP Dragon Lore Unboxing!" and "CS:GO — AWP Medusa Unboxing!" - wherein he makes PayPal payments for random skin drops separated into categories based on in-game rarity.
SteamLoto is one of numerous websites that have fostered the unofficial gambling of cosmetic items with real-world value in Valve-developed games such as Counter Strike: GO, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2.
According to the Steamloto website, after going through the payment process for a random drop, a "bot or operator" then generates a random weapon skin which are then obtained via a trade offer on Valve's PC gaming distribution platform, Steam.
During both videos Stewart acts surprised at receiving two rare skins in what at first appears to be a random lottery draw. Stewart admits in his latest video (embedded below) that these drops were actually pre-arranged with the site and that he neglected to disclose the deal to his 450,000+ YouTube subscriber base.
"The idea was brought to me by SteamLoto, they proposes [sic] rigging in return for a Dragon Lore, I just fell right into it," Stewart explains in an annotation. Stewart estimates that the Dragon Lore and Ruby Doppler Karambit knife (received as part of the agreement with SteamLoto) are worth approximately $3,200 (£2,433) on the Steam marketplace.
Stewart's admission follows on from the allegation that two other widely popular CS:GO streamers - ProSyndicate and TmarTn - are promoting a similar 'gambling' site called CSGOLotto while failing to disclose that the pair own the site in question.
Stewart addresses the state of CS:GO betting activity, stating: "maybe this is a wake up call for some, rigging and non-disclosed sponsorships happen. Do not trust everything you see on YouTube." In his latest video's blurb he also wrote:
"All people make mistakes, so here is my confession and my follow up to my mistakes. We can learn from them and grow from them, I hope to do so. CSGO is a tempting, weird place for all CSGO YouTubers and Twitch streamers alike, I fell down a weird place and don't plan on going back there."
PsiSyndicate also posted a screen-capture on Twitter that appears to show an example of a website soliciting him for publicity in return for skins (below).
Stewart explains that he later gave away both the Dragon Lore and several other skins in a competition via his YouTube channel. "The total takings was $3200 in skins, Dragon Lore / Ruby, $1,200 ($4,000 really, $2,800 of my own skins) of which I gave away," said Stewart.
The "CS:GO — Dragon Lore Giveaway" video in question (in which Stewart denies that the original Dragon Lore SteamLoto video was rigged) was posted on 22 October 2015 and contained a link to the giveaway in the description (which can still be found here).
Stewart explains:"in the end I gained nothing but views, and lost some skins, but it's lying that is important here." He has also placed disclaimers on the original two videos featuring SteamLoto which read: "The website is rigged, use the website as [sic] your own risk".
Stewart's admission sheds further light on what is quickly becoming a broader issue that encompasses allegations of underage gambling via legal loopholes. Valve is currently the subject of a class-action lawsuit following accusations of facilitating such activity, however the publisher has publicly stated that is does not endorse betting websites such as CSGOLotto or SteamLoto.