YouTuber fined for Fifa gambling offence
Two men who ran a betting website connected to the Fifa video game have been fined after pleading guilty to offences under the UK's Gambling Act.
Craig Douglas, a prominent gamer known as Nepenthez, and his business partner Dylan Rigby, ran a website that let video gamers gamble virtual currency.
Douglas must pay £91,000 ($112,000) and Rigby £164,000 in fines and costs.
Douglas promoted the website to fans of his YouTube channel, which has more than 1.3 million subscribers.
It is the first time the UK's gambling commission has prosecuted people for running an unlicensed gambling website connected to a video game.
"This was one of the most serious cases that has been investigated and prosecuted by the Commission," said chief executive Sarah Harrison.
"Its gravity is reflected in the significant financial penalties imposed by the Judge."
The effect on children of online gambling was described as "horrific" and "serious" in court, she added.
"This case demonstrates that we will use the full range of our statutory powers to investigate and prosecute individuals and companies who try to operate illegally."
The men ran a website called FUT Galaxy that let players transfer virtual currency out of the Fifa 17 video game, and use it to bet on real-life football games.
Winnings could then be transferred back in to the Fifa 17 video game.
But crucially, the Fifa virtual currency can also be sold on an online black market, giving the virtual coins real world value, like casino chips.
Similar betting websites connected to other video games also exist, and news site Bloomberg has suggested the market is worth billions of pounds.
Douglas, 32, from Ferndown, Dorset, admitted a charge of being an officer of a firm that provided facilities for gambling without an operating licence, and a further offence relating to the advertising of unlawful gambling.
Rigby, 33, from Colchester, Essex, pleaded guilty to two charges connected to the provision of facilities for gambling, and a third offence linked to advertising illegal gambling.