UK Gambling Commission files first charges against eSports betting promoters

uk-gambling-commission-esports-betting-chargesThe UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has launched the the nation’s first legal action involving eSports betting.

On Friday, the BBC reported that Essex residents Craig Douglas and Dylan Rigby have been charged with promoting a lottery and advertising unlawful gambling. The pair made a brief appearance in Birmingham Magistrates’ Court and will have a followup hearing on Oct. 14.

The charges, which also include inciting individuals under the age of 18 to gamble, were brought by the UKGC. In August, the UKGC announced that betting licenses were required for any website that provides “a service designed to facilitate the making or accepting of bets between others.’

Douglas (pictured, not wearing hat), known as Nepenthez on YouTube, publishes videos on online games to his 1.3m subscribers, with an emphasis on EA Sports’ FIFA product. Douglas’ videos include the promotion of sites that offer betting using a virtual currency known as FIFA Coins.

The coins are analogous to the ‘skins’ that are used as currency to bet on eSports titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, League of Legends and others. Recent crackdowns by the Valve marketplace has led many skin betting sites to curtail betting activity on Valve’s CS:GO title.

In the wake of the BBC release, dug up Twitter exchanges in which Douglas promotes FIFA Coin betting via the FUTgalaxy site, which has connections to his co-accused Rigby.

Other Twitter users had warned Douglas that he should cover his bases by including caveats that FUTgalaxy wasn’t intended for use by minors. Douglas appeared unconcerned, brushing off these warnings by saying “Let us worry about that kind of stuff, yeah. Jesus, lmao. Go annoy someone else, somewhere else.”

Douglas remains active on his Twitter account but has remained tight-lipped regarding his current legal difficulties except to say he “can’t talk about it at this moment in time.” Douglas also said he appreciated those who have “reserved judgment without the full story.”