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FIFA YouTuber Nepenthez has pleaded guilty to gambling charges under the UK’s Gambling Act.
According to the BBC, Nepenthez, named Craig Douglas in real life, and his business partner Dylan Rigby ran a website that allowed players to gamble their FIFA coins, which is argued to have real-life value on soccer/football matches. The duo had originally pled not-guilty, but have now changed their pleas. In 2016, the were charged with inviting children to gamble on the website, considering a lot of his subscribers are minors. They were also charged with promoting a lottery and advertising unlawful gambling.
EA explicitly prohibits the sale of coins on third-party websites. It is believed to have taken action against some individual gamers, banning those who it has found to have purchased coins with real money.
The case is being tried at the Birmingham Magistrates Court and is the first of its kind in the UK. No other person or company had been prosecuted for running an unlicensed video game website.
Nepenthez recently released a video on YouTube briefly talking about the court case.
“I’ve got something coming up on Monday, 6th of February that could change my life, define my future,” he said in the video. “There is a probability that I won’t be walking out of court on Monday morning, and that’s scary man, that’s really scary.”
This isn’t the first time that players have used FIFA games to commit crimes. Last November in California, defendant Anthony Clark was on trial for wire fraud in which he and associates Ricky Miller, Nicholas Castellucci and Eaton Zveare built a tool that spoofed EA servers into thinking that matches were being played so that coins would be earned at a rapid pace. Those coins would then be sold through third-party applications. In total Clark, Castellucci and Eaton Zveare milked somewhere between $15 and $18 million during the scheme while working for RANE Developments, LLC, which is based in Virginia.