YouTubers charged in UK's first video game gambling case

UK Gambling Commission prosecuting two FIFA streamers for promoting gambling

By Matthew Handrahan.Published Monday 19th September 2016, 8:39am GMT

Two men are on trial in the UK's first ever prosecution related to gambling and video games.

According to a BBC report, the case against the two men, Craig Douglas and Dylan Rigby, was brought by the UK Gambling Commission, which has taken an interest in, "the rise of video game gambling."

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Douglas and Rigby, both of whom have created YouTube content related to EA Sports' FIFA franchise, are accused of, "promoting a lottery and advertising unlawful gambling." Douglas is facing an additional charge of, "inviting children to gamble."

The case will start again at Birmingham Magistrates Court on October 14, and Douglas sent a Twitter message to those who are following the proceedings.

According to the BBC, the Gambling Commission is particularly concerned about the potential for children to be, "drawn into betting on so-called 'skins'" - an issue that will be immediately familiar to those with knowledge of the games industry.

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In July, a case involving Valve, several prominent YouTubers and a website for gambling with Counter-Strike: GO skins illuminated the issue, and raised further questions about the apparent lack of ethics among streamers and YouTubers.

"Undisclosed commercial relationships between game streamers and game developers isn't the kind of thing that gets legislators and regulators animated. Illegal promotion for illegal gambling sites, targeting a large number of minors? You're damned right that gets legislators sitting bolt upright," Rob Fahey wrote in an editorial for GamesIndustry.biz at the time.

"That's the kind of thing that would get a TV channel's broadcast license questioned in many jurisdictions, and legislators and regulators who discover that their power over YouTube is limited or unclear in cases like this are extremely unlikely to allow that situation to stand."

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