Siobhan Aslett09.19.2016

The first two people in the UK to be charged with offences under the Gambling Act appeared in Birmingham Magistrates Court last week. Craig Douglas and Dylan Rigby, from Essex, who were involved in eSports betting were charged with promoting a lottery and advertising unlawful gambling.

In August, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) stated that betting licenses were required for any website that offers “a service designed to facilitate the making or accepting of bets between others.”

Douglas, who publishes videos of online games on YouTube under the name ‘Nepenthez’, has 1.3 million subscribers and emphasises EA Sports’ FIFA product. His videos include the promotion of websites that provide betting services using the FIFA Coins virtual currency. These coins are similar to the skins that are used as currency for betting in eSports games.

In addition, Douglas was charged with inciting children under the age of 18 to gamble.

Since the BBC reported the story on Friday, Twitter exchanges have been revealed where Douglas promotes betting with FIFA Coins via the FUTgalaxy site, which is linked to Rigby. Other Twitter users warned Douglas to stipulate that FUTgalaxy was not to be used by minors. However, Douglas disregarded these warnings, telling other users to leave those details to him.

The UKGC recently publically warned parents that children who play online video games can be drawn into betting on “skins” betting with virtual weapons, clothes or other goods being sold.

He has not commented on the legal case that has been brought against him and Rigby, other than to say that he “can’t talk about it at this moment in time” and that he appreciates those people who have “reserved judgement without the full story.”

The case has been adjourned with the next hearing scheduled for October 14.