YouTuber Charged With Promoting FIFA Gambling Site

Craig ‘Nepenthez’ Douglas is a YouTuber with over 1 million subscribers

Two men have become the first to be charged under UK gambling laws for promoting gambling with a videogame currency on YouTube. Craig ‘Nepenthez’ Douglas, 31, and his off-screen business partner Dylan Rigby, 33, have been charged at Birmingham magistrates’ court with promoting a lottery and advertising unlawful gambling, while Douglas also faces the charge of inviting children to gamble.

The pair own a handful of websites which allow betting with FIFA coins – a currency which is normally generated in the ‘Ultimate Team’ mode by winning matches or tournaments, scoring goals, selling players or finding them dropped in packs. Among the websites the pair run is futgalaxy.com, which has been taken down in the UK. However its Spanish version, futgoles.com, is identical in all but language and is still available, showing a countdown to the release of FIFA 17.

The sites let you bet your coins in various ways. In this video a YouTuber explains how the futgalaxy.com site works by placing bets on real world football matches. The coins can then also be bought or sold for real money on other websites using PayPal or Bitcoin. Rigby, one of the men charged with unlawful gambling, is also the director of a website which allows players to buy and sell their coins – ultimatecoinexchange.com. Together the two men are mutual directors of Game Gold Tradings Limited.

Douglas, who makes videos as Nepenthez on YouTube and boasts over a million subscribers, previously made videos about the betting website which he ran. In the linked video he says “there is a website called futgalaxy.com” and continually refers to the website as “they”. At no point does he disclose he is the co-owner of the website. He goes on to play against another broadcaster, AA9skillz, who posted his own video about the betting website.

The betting websites in question are listed under a parent company called GameWager International Corp, which is based in San Jose, Costa Rica (as pointed out by another YouTuber HonorTheCall). This also runs a gambling website for Counterstrike: Global Offensive called CSGOFantasy.com, which has also been taken down. Costa Rica is known as having friendly tax law for offshore companies as well as high degrees of privacy. Offshore companies are not required to disclose even the names of the owners to the country’s registrar of companies, according to Investopedia.

The prosecution was brought by the Gambling Commission, who have been investigating gambling with videogame currencies and the YouTubers who have been taking part in this activity, following the controversy over CS:GO betting sites and their owners TmarTn and Syndicate.

“We are paying close attention to the growing popularity of virtual or ‘in-game’ items, which can be traded, sold or used as virtual currencies to gamble,” a spokesperson for the Commission told our close pals Eurogamer.

“If GB-based players are being invited to gamble with money or money’s worth then this requires an operating licence.”

The case has been adjourned until October 14

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47 Comments

  1. milligna says:

    A freezeframe like that is going to result in charges, yeah.

  2. Hobbes says:

    … What was his hair charged with? AC or DC?

    I’ll show myself out.

  3. yogibbear says:

    I don’t know anything about the case, but if you have a paypal account, then you presumably have a credit card, which requires you to be an adult. :/ Like I don’t like the promotion part without saying you own the business, that is shady is F***. But the whole selling to children thing sounds usual BS.

  4. Stellar Duck says:

    As part of my job I deal with FIFA coins and the fallout of kids nicking mums card (or mum simply giving her card to the wee ones) and I will cheerfull applaud if all games with ingame currency gets banned to the pits and the developers put in the stocks and the companies razed to the ground and the earth salted.

    Fuck FIFA, fuck FUT, fuck coins, points, gems, motherbase coins, diamons, gold, ISK and anything else that can be purchased for actual money. And fuck crates and keys while I’m at it (though I don’t deal with that at work).

    Also fuck Valve for enabling this shit on the PC.

    And yes, I’m raging about this. And so should you be.

    • UniuM says:

      Isk is actually icelandic krona, but i kow what you mean, you mean EVE-Online ingame currency. And i bet that group doesn’t steal mom’s credit card, at their “average” age their moms usually aren’t around.

      but you are right, it’s a problem that needs to have some regulations pronto.

    • Czrly says:

      Yeah. This.

      Also, it shouldn’t just be kids who are protected. Lots of adults are gullible and charlatans and cups-handlers should not be free to prey upon them.

    • SaintAn says:

      Good to see someone else that hates these scams. It’s disturbingly rare.

    • Ericusson says:

      Let’s not forget the worse offender in the matter : Apple.

      98% of the games are shallow mechanisms on a tedious medium. But that is fine.
      I wonder how many percent of games on the App Store now have in game purchases. And greed makes people see this like the grasp of modern economy.

      Right.

      • laggyluk says:

        I’m pretty sure microtransactions were brought to life out of greed on both sides. 98% of those mobile games are free to play because buying them for $1 upfront is too expensive for average customer.

    • Neutrino says:

      No.

      Why would I want my government to waste my bloody taxes enforcing the current interpretation of some pointless medieval morality code that has a beef with gambling?

      Let those who want to gamble, gamble. Let those incapable of looking after their own offspring deal with the fallout of that, and let the rest of us get on with our lives without the effing goverment telling what colour underpants we are allowed to wear in the morning.

      • trjp says:

        I wrote a careful reply to this but the Cloudflare system doesn’t like posts which talk about gambling and virtual currencies apparently???

        Thanks Cloudflare – protecting people from fuck-all as-ever…

      • P.Funk says:

        So if you don’t want to protect children from gambling should we just eliminate all fraud legislation? Why not get rid of all rules protecting commerce from exploiting the gullibility and lack of decision making and critical thinking children have.

        • trjp says:

          In fairness, we allow so much stretching of the law as-is that I’m amazed this case happened – and I strongly suspect we’ll see a few ‘make an example of em’ cases and they’ll just stop happening entirely…

          The chances of actually reining-in a market which is so HUGELY profitable (I’m talking here of all virtual goods which are tradeable for real money) is roughly zero – the best you’ll see is the smaller/more stupid operators being publically shamed.

      • ludde says:

        Because it makes society a better place?

  5. gwop_the_derailer says:

    A legal scandal involving FIFA? Shocking!

  6. Psychomorph says:

    Fucking YouTube people.

    • Jediben says:

      This. The stupid are everywhere, have unfettered access to the Internet and are all too willing to gobble up whatever shit that diabolical site will allow to be uploaded. If I wasn’t such a bastion of moral purity I would get in on this shit myself: it is just too easy.

  7. Turkey says:

    First Pogs 4 Boglins, and now this.

  8. Czrly says:

    RPS, did you really need to link them? Seriously? Name them, sure, but don’t link them!

  9. April March says:

    Not surprised. The world’s been a Neal Stephenson novel for quite some time now.

    • zbeeblebrox says:

      Any day now, some asshole is gonna melt a few billion dollars worth of previously lost gold into the bottom of a river and declare it the next evolution in alt-currency. Next thing you know, there’s deliverators on every street, only accepting tips in Cryptonomicoin.

    • Premium User Badge

      keefybabe says:

      Nah, pizza doesn’t arrive anywhere near quickly enough.

  10. DevilishEggs says:

    There should be a filter in youtube that detects when youtubers are trying way too hard to pretend to have fun, flagging them for investigation.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    I misread the name of the website they wink-wink-nudged towards as “futagalaxy.com”, which sounds like it’d be even worse to send children towards.

  12. Plank says:

    Is paying Valve for keys to open crates gambling? If not, why not?

    • Klydefrog says:

      I suppose by the legal definition it might be, since it’s a kind of raffle. According to google it is legal for children to participate in “incidental non-commercial lotteries” which the Steam market definitely is not. Would be interesting to hear from someone with legal expertise on that.

      • syndrome says:

        and what’s with the collectible card system and album stickers?
        isn’t that largely a lottery?

        you buy a bag of items for X dollars, and those items possess variable grades of rarity which give them inherent value in the consequential under-the-counter market that emerges immediately.

        isn’t that commercial AND shady?

        everybody is so quick to forget about magic: the gathering or any panini album in the world. it’s not gaming if you ask me.

  13. Klydefrog says:

    This doesn’t surprise me and I’m very glad something is finally being done about it. FIFA videos on youtube have been full of this kind of thing for a long time and Nepenthez has always been one of the worst offenders. Stuff like this and just the general style of FIFA videos on youtube has really made me fall out of love with the game and I really only play it as a local multiplayer game these days.

  14. Little_Crow says:

    It’s hard to feel sorry for many of the people involved, I run out of adjectives to describe the morally repugnant, deceptive, slimy practices they’ve engaged in.

    Despite the enormous numbers of adverts for bookies/casinos I think UK gambling law is pretty strict, and unlike a lot of areas has actually been updated to take the internet into account.

    I doubt non UK based youtubers/streamers have anything to fear from the Gambling Commission, but it’s yet to be seen if UK based ones do either…

  15. Drib says:

    I read that as “futagalaxy” at first and I was wondering just what kind of gambling was going on.

  16. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Northernlion is the only trust worthy youtuber. You can always rely on him to be crap at Rimworld… I’d bet on it… in fact I have an idea for a website. scumeggbets.bl.

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