A popular YouTuber has pleaded guilty over setting up a FIFA gambling site without a valid license, with them awaiting sentencing in the latest episode of video game betting having real-world implications.
Craig Douglas, known by his alias Nepenthez on YouTube, set up a website named FUT Galaxy with co-defendant Dylan Rigby, that allowed users to transfer virtual currency from FIFA 17 and use it to bet on football matches. FUT Galaxy became well-known in the FIFA community, with users able to sell FIFA 17‘s virtual coins in an online black market, giving them a monetary value that led to Nepenthez and Rigby being charged in court.
Nepenthez and Rigby previously pleaded not guilty, though changed their plea in court earlier today. According to the Gambling Act 2005, the pair could face 51 weeks in prison and a fine of up to £5,000 for each charge (via PCGamesN). This is the first time the UK’s gambling commission has prosecuted people for running a betting site related to a video game, according to the BBC.
Gambling in FIFA makes use of the virtual coins used to buy players for the game’s Ultimate Team mode. While these coins are purchased in-game and can’t be converted back into real-world currency, unofficial websites allow players to exchange the game’s currency for real money in order to use it to gamble, similar to casino chips.
Nepenthez posted a series of tweets regarding the court case, saying: “The worst year of my life concluded today. I have so much to say, but you’ll take whatever judgement you feel needed from the press.”
He added: “I’ll upload a video in due course presenting my side of the story. The facts remain I plead guilty to 2 charges, and a substantial fine … was the outcome. I’d like once again to apologise to everyone and thank you all for being a part of my life. May our journey go forth.”
Nepenthez and Dylan Rigby now await sentencing.