The wheels of justice have started turning for the two British men indicted for video game gambling offenses as they entered a “not guilty” plea during their arraignment.
YouTube star Craig Douglas and Dylan Rigby both pleaded not guilty to the charges of promoting a lottery and advertising unlawful gambling before the Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Friday, according to a BBC News report.
Douglas, who also goes by “Nepenthez,” is a prominent gamer with 1.3 million followers on his YouTube channel. A separate case was filed against Douglas for allegedly inviting children to gamble by advertising a gambling website connected to EA Sport’s FIFA.
This is the first time that British authorities are prosecuting persons for their involvement in video game betting. The case has been adjourned until 6 February 2017, when the court will hold a hearing expected to last a week.
Both accused were caught with their pants down on September after it was discovered that they were operating a website that allowed visitors to wager real-world money in an attempt to win the virtual currency used in EA’s FIFA video game franchise.
Authorities claimed that the accused were able to take advantage of FIFA’s virtual currency that is used in-game with the help of a number of third-party websites that let players transfer their FIFA coins to bet on virtual football games, play slot machine-style games or enter a lottery with a jackpot prize.
Any winnings can then be transferred back into the main FIFA video game.
They argue that the FIFA coins have a real-world value and therefore placing betting with them tantamount to unlicensed gambling.
Since this is the first case of its kind in UK, pundits consider this case as a litmus test of which the outcome could set a precedent for future legal action relating to this new form of online gambling.