UK Gambling Commission Slaps YouTubers with £255,000 Betting Fines

Two British video gamers have been prosecuted by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) after an investigation showed they accepted illegal payments through the popular game FIFA 17.

Craig Douglas FIFA betting.

YouTuber and pro gamer Craig Douglas has been fined £91,000 by the UKGC for accepting illegal FIFA 17 bets. (YouTube/NepentheZ)

Craig Douglas and Dylan Rigby are two of the UK’s most popular gamers with more than 1.3 million YouTube subscribers tuning in to watch their videos.

However, as well as being professional gamers, the pair also ran a site called FUT Galaxy, which allowed FIFA players to use in-game credits to bet on sport.

According to a Bloomberg report in 2016, black-market gambling in the video gaming world is now a billion dollar industry.

Following an investigation by the Washington State Gambling Commission into the online video game network Valve, Commissioner Chris Stearns found that many popular games have links with gambling.

Gambling Commissions Shine Light on Black Market

In simple terms, players are able to win/purchase credits in games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and then trade these for tokens that can be used to bet on sports through third-party skins. The Washington State Gambling Commission’s investigation found that many of the sites (known as skins) that allowed this gambling to take place were dependent on Valve’s software.

Despite some attempts to stop players from using game credits to bet on sports, Valve was served with a cease-and-desist letter back in October 2016. But, that attempt to curtail the industry doesn’t appear to have stopped the like of Douglas and Rigby from cashing in on this illegal market.

With the UKGC picking up on the work carried out by its US counterpart, it has since fined the two gamers for facilitating illegal sports betting via FIFA 17. By transferring the game’s virtual currency to FUT Galaxy, players could then bet on sports before transferring any winnings back into the game.

At this point, players could then use the game credits or exchange them for real cash. With the net closing in, Douglas and Rigby pleaded guilty to charges of facilitating and advertising illegal gambling services and were fined £91,000 and £164,000 respectively.

Footballer Barton Admits Betting Misconduct

In other UK gambling news this week, footballer Joey Barton has accepted misconduct charges from the FA after he was accused of placing more than 1,200 bets over a ten year period. Under FA rule E8, no member of a football club can be on any matches in the UK.

Between March 2006 and May 2016, it’s believed Barton wagered on 1,260 matches, with 44 of those being placed between July 1 and September 15, 2016, during his spell with Rangers. However, despite accepting a misconduct charge, Barton has requested a personal hearing with the FA.

Although rule E8 didn’t come into effect until 2014, a previous rule prevented players for speculating on matches they were involved in. According to reports, it’s alleged that Barton also contravened this rule.

Barton will now appear before the FA before he is formally charged.

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