Some of YouTube’s biggest stars stand accused of promoting underage gambling following reports that US citizen Jake Paul and UK resident Morgan ‘Morgz’ Hudson have used their channels to promote a lucky dip style game where people pay to open a virtual box which might contain items such as a game, trainers or toys – or a low-value booby prize.
According to The Times promotional work was carried out by the pair on behalf of MysteryBrand which offers a variety of boxes for sale in a range of categories, including Apple boxes which sell for £11.80 with the lure of a high-value laptop or iPhone amid a mountain of low-value accessories and cables.
Participants then have the option of holding onto their prize or ‘sell’ it back to the site for far less than its true value.
One video, fronted by Hudson, showed that star spending £800 on such boxes, securing only a succession of tat for his troubles before apparently winning goods worth in excess of £3,000. An affiliate link reportedly embedded within this clip suggested that Hudson was paid for any purchases made on the site via the channel.
YouTube has already pulled Hudson’s promotion from view, with a spokesperson saying: “YouTube believes that creators should be transparent with their audiences if their content includes paid promotion of any kind. Our policies make it clear that YouTube creators are responsible for ensuring their content complies with local laws, regulations and YouTube community guidelines. If content is found to violate these policies, we take action to ensure the integrity of our platform, which can include removing content.”
The activities of MysteryBrand are still being assessed by the Gambling Commission but the children’s commissioner for England has already come out against the service, telling the paper that this amounted to ‘gambling, plain and simple’.
The growing influence of YouTube's biggest stars has come under the spotlight since a wave of outrage sparked by vlogger Logan Paul who saw his commercial links with YouTube severed after posting a video of a suicide victim.