YouTube Gamer Fined For UKGC Gambling Offence
Video games and virtual online currencies are big business and the trading of such currencies on black markets with real money is a growing problem. This week saw the UK Gambling Commission for the first time go after two prominent gamers who ran a website that enabled video gamers to gamble virtual currency. Craig Douglas known as Nepenthez and his business partner Dylan Riggs will have to pay £91,000 and £164,000 in fines and costs.
Douglas was accused of promoting his website to fans via his popular YouTube channel which has more than 1.3 million subscribers. The pair operated a website called FUT Galaxy that enabled players to transfer virtual currency out of the Fifa 17 video game and use it to bet on real- life football games. The winnings were then transferred back to the Fifa 17 video game which in turn was able to be sold on the online black market thus giving the virtual chips a real money value just like a casino chips.
This case sets a precedent as it is the first time that the UKGC have prosecuted an unlicensed gambling website connected to a video website. CEO of the UKGC, Sarah Harrison commented on the punishment,” This was one of the most serious cases that has been investigated and prosecuted by the Commission. Its gravity is reflected in the significant financial penalties imposed by the Judge. This case demonstrates that we will use the full range of our statutory powers to investigate and prosecute individuals and companies who try to operate illegally.”