| Start of the
anti-video gambling war by the authorities?
Craig Douglas and Dylan Rigby are believed to have become
the first people in the UK to have been charged with offences under the
Both men appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court last
week, charged with promoting a lottery and advertising unlawful
Douglas, who publishes gaming videos on YouTube under the name
Nepenthez, has also been charged with inviting children to take
part in gambling activities.
The case, which was brought forward by the
UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), has been adjourned until October 14.
news comes about two months after Valve said it would "start sending notices"
to gambling services affiliated with its most popular Steam titles, requesting
they cease operations through Steam. At the same time, Twitch also clarified
its stance on gambling streams, doubling down on policies that prohibit
streamers from broadcasting content that violates other companies'
Craig Douglas, known as NepentheZ, is a prominent FIFA
YouTuber, and Dylan Rigby was owner of the now deactivated FUTgalaxy channel.
FUTGalaxy is now inaccessible from within the UK. Access it from
outside the UK (or via proxy) and it states it will re-open for FIFA 17 in a
few days, and where it will presumably once again allow users to wager FIFA
Coins on the outcome of randomly-generated results.
The case comes off
the back of a recent investigation into videogame gambling by The Gambling
Commission. The group is hoping to raise awareness to parents about the
potential for children to be drawn into gambling with virtual skins or
currencies, as well as making sure those breaking the law see their day in
"We are paying close attention to the growing popularity of
virtual or 'in-game' items, which can be traded, sold or used as virtual
currencies to gamble," a Gambling Commission spokesperson told website
Eurogamer. "If GB-based players are being invited to gamble with money or
money's worth then this requires an operating licence. We don't talk about
individual websites because it might unjustifiably harm the reputation of
individuals or prejudice the outcome of any investigation that may, or may not,
be taking place."
Douglas didn't seem worried about the law back in June
2015, when he replied to a tweet warning him of the dangers of not indicating
the site was for people over 18, saying, "Let us worry about that kind of
stuff, yeah. Jesus, lmao. Go annoy someone else, somewhere else."
has 1.3 million subscribers on his channel NepentheZ, and uploads videos
focussed on FIFA. He has not explicitly mentioned the prosecution online, but
alluded on Twitter to testing times, and something that he
cant talk about
at this moment in time
to the BBC: The Gambling Commission, which brought the prosecution, has
been looking into the rise of video game gambling. It is warning parents that
children can be drawn into betting on so-called skins virtual goods such
as weapons or clothes that are a feature of many popular
This crackdown follows a recently published paper by the UK
Gambling Commission on esports betting, amongst other forms of social gaming,
and sets a worrying precedent for other Youtubers in a similar space to that
which FutGalaxy operated in.
This case echoes a similar recent one over
in the States involving Trevor TmarTn Martin and Tom
Syndicate Cassell, the pair were somewhat scandalised following the
revelation that they were the co-owners of a betting site (CS:GO Lotto) that
they regularly promoted on their popular Youtube channels.
Douglas are highly unlikely to be the last charged on these shores as the UKGC
looks to get a handle on esports and underage gambling. Valves cease and
desist letters opened the floodgates, and the more attention of this type that
esports as a whole receives, the better for both those at risk and the industry
itself long term.
It has been estimated that the global market in
betting on video games is worth as much as £4bn.