UPDATE 7/2/17 9:30 a.m.: YouTuber Craig “Nepenthez” Douglas has hinted that he will pay a “substantial” fine but avoid jail after pleading guilty to two counts of illegal gambling. A prominent British YouTuber has been fined for running an unlicensed FIFA betting site called FUT Galaxy. Craig Douglas, better known as “NepentheZ” online, pleaded guilty to two counts – being an executive of an unlicensed gambling company and another related to advertising illegal betting. His business partner Dylan Rigby has admitted three charges related to providing betting facilities and promoting illegal gambling. As BBC News reports, this is the first time a UK court has prosecuted people for operating an unlicensed gaming website in connection with a video game. “This case shows that we will use the full range of our legal powers to investigate and prosecute individuals and companies that attempt to operate illegally.” “This is one of the most serious cases investigated and prosecuted by the Commission. Its severity is reflected in the significant fines imposed by the judge. The defendants knew that the site was being used by children and that their behavior was illegal, but they turned a blind eye to make large profits. The effects of online gambling on children were rightly described by the court as “terrible” and “severe”. This is the first time the UK`s gambling law has been used to crack down on a website that has made illegal bets based on a video game. “A lesson has been learned. A very valuable lesson,” Douglas said. “I had a lot to say, from my side, a lot to say.
But my legal team advised me against doing so. [I would create] more problems if I said what I think. The case, which is still pending, is the first in British legal history to focus on a gambling site linked to a video game. “The defendants knew that the site was being used by children and that their behavior was illegal, but they turned a blind eye to making large profits,” Harrison continued. “The impact of online gambling on children was rightly described by the court as `horrific` and `serious`. All websites offering gambling establishments in the UK must be authorised; This is the only way to protect children and vulnerable people. This case shows that we will use the full range of our legal powers to investigate and prosecute individuals and companies that attempt to operate illegally. Rigby pleaded guilty to promoting illegal gambling and two counts related to “providing facilities for gambling.” Rigby, 33, of Colchester, Essex, pleaded guilty to two counts related to providing gaming facilities and a third offence related to advertising illegal gambling. “All venues offering gambling establishments in the UK must be authorised; This is the only way to protect children and vulnerable people. This case shows that we will use the full range of our legal powers to investigate and prosecute individuals and companies that attempt to operate illegally. The couple was guilty of running an illegal gambling business in the UK and promoting it without a licence.
However, Douglas has pleaded not guilty to other charges, including encouraging children to participate. The court was informed that the issuance of “coins” by EA, the operators of the FIFA video game, is completely legal. Both pleaded guilty to operating and promoting a betting website that was illegal under UK gambling law. While Douglas pleaded guilty to two charges, Rigby pleaded guilty to three charges, two of which were related to the betting industry. The couple was charged with advertising illegal gambling, which was seen as the first case involving betting on video games. Dylan Rigby and Craig Douglas, also known as NepentheZ, admitted to violating the rules of the game with the FutGalaxy website. At the time of writing, Nepenthez had 1,452,325 YouTube subscribers, with each of his videos garnering at least 100,000 views. Douglas and Rigby were reprimanded in court for the duration of the site`s operation and allowed children to participate, The Guardian reported. “This is one of the most serious cases investigated and prosecuted by the Commission,” said Executive Director Sarah Harrison.
The Guardian reports that the court heard that FUTGalaxy made a pre-tax profit of around £96,000 between July 2015 and February 2016. One of the victims was a 14-year-old boy who lost 586 pounds at the scene in a single day. The betting site worked with the in-game currency used in the video game Fifa 17. Users could transfer their in-game FUT currency to the site to bet on real football matches, and then transfer the virtual currency – to be used in the game. Douglas had to pay £91,000 (£112,000) and Rigby £164,000 in fines and costs. Douglas ran FUT Galaxy, a website where users could place bets using FIFA`s coin-based currency. He also made videos showing him earning thousands of pounds encouraging his 1.4 million subscribers to play as well. Evidence uncovered at the time suggests that Douglas had not disclosed his ownership of the site. Viewers also questioned the accuracy and fairness of the bets he saw win.
Last night, Douglas told viewers he accepts that some people now want to stop watching his videos, but thanked his fans who “appreciate people making mistakes.” “In my opinion, you were both aware of children`s use of the site and its appeal to children. At least you both turned a blind eye. YouTuber Craig “NepentheZ” Douglas and business partner Dylan Rigby have been fined £265,000 for promoting a FIFA online gaming network for kids. Douglas, 32, of Ferndown, Dorset, admitted a charge of being a senior executive of a company that provided gaming facilities without a licence to operate, and another offence related to advertising illegal gambling. According to a report from Bloomberg, more and more video game betting sites are operating online, constituting a multi-billion pound industry. Automated Content ID – the name of the YouTube program that scans videos for copyright infringement. “The worst year of my life ended today. I have so much to say, but you will make any judgment of the press you deem necessary,” he added. Two men who ran a betting site linked to the FIFA video game have been fined after pleading guilty to breaches of UK gambling law. FutGalaxy took bets on matches in the UK, France, Germany and Italy. Two men who admitted to violating gambling laws through a website allowing children to bet on Premier League football matches using virtual currency earned in the Fifa video game have been ordered to pay fines and costs.