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Lawyer suing TmarTn and Valve speaks out about the case: “we feel good about it”

TmarTn break-in

Update: A previous version of this article suggested TmarTn had left the US, but it has since been clarified that the quote was actually referring to Tom Cassell, aka ProSyndicate, TmarTn’s business partner at CSGOLotto.

The last thing we heard about the Trevor Martin, aka TmarTn, lawsuit was back in July 2016, when the YouTuber’s solicitors said the content creator would be making no more public statements. TmarTn was accused of knowingly misleading his viewers to incite them to gamble on CSGOLotto, a CS:GO skin gambling site that he owned, though he allegedly never disclosed this conflict. 

Since there will be “no more public comments” on Martin’s side, we reached out to Jasper D. Ward from Jones Ward PLC, the firm in charge of a lawsuit against Martin and also a class action suit against Valve, who are accused of setting up this ecosystem that allowed underage gamers to gamble illegally. Jones Ward filed the Valve lawsuit on behalf of three clients, and the firm is also representing “a couple dozen” clients against Martin/CSGOLotto. Jones Ward also represent numerous other teenagers and their parents who were harmed by Skins gambling. Ward gave us a full update on the case.

Back in October 2016, Washington’s Federal Court dismissed the case, as they decided the case didn’t fit under the RICO act, a federal act against racketeering, underground gambling and corrupt organisations taking part in concerted illegal activities. Outside of RICO, there was also no federal jurisdiction from any other source, so Ward was forced to re-file the case.

“We re-filed it in State Court in King County, Seattle, against Valve, and we re-filed in Miami-Dade County, Florida, against Trevor Martin and CSGOLotto, because that’s their home state,” Ward tells PCGamesN.

Around December 20, Valve removed the case back to Federal Court, forcing Ward to wait until after Christmas and file a motion to remand, sending it back to State Court. That’s currently pending.

“[Valve] also filed a motion to compel arbitration again – arbitration essentially being where lawsuits go to die. So we’re still finding out where we’re going to be.”

Meanwhile, Trevor Martin’s case is just getting started. “He hasn’t filed any motions,” Ward explains. “I assume he’ll file a motion to dismiss, but I don’t know. Obviously it’s early on, so it’s hard to tell what the outcome is going to be, but we feel good about it. The lawsuit is the best way to hold these guys accountable. For Trevor especially, there doesn’t seem to be any other way to do it. ProSyndicate… it’s going to be hard to get him on the case. He was living in Los Angeles, but now he’s back in the UK.”

Ward tells us this move was around the time skins gambling was shut down, so ProSyndicate could well have planned it before the lawsuits were filed. Whatever the case, the move will make the battle more difficult for Ward and his clients.

How long the lawsuits last depends on a few factors: what the court’s decisions are, whether the court orders arbitration, and more. The case will rest on several questions, as it may not even make it to the stage where Ward gets to point out the case’s merits, such as: is skins gambling gambling? Have Valve created a system that allows teenagers to gamble illegally? Are Trevor Martin’s deleted YouTube videos fraudulent misrepresentations of his ownership ventures? Did he induce kids to gamble on a site that he owned without telling anyone he owned it?

“Obviously, on the merits, I want to hold Valve accountable and I think if we ever get to the merits we will. But the procedural stuff in court – they set it up so it’s really hard to get to the merits,” Ward explains. “The hard part in court these days, honestly, is getting to the merits. If we could ever get to the merits, I’d feel more confident, but until then it’s hard to say. I don’t think we’ll lose on whether skins gambling is gambling but, again, like I said, that’s a merits issue. This is what the case is really about. It’s not about what court we’re supposed to be in or who has standing or not – it’s not about those things. It’s about what Valve did. Or it should be.”