Two YouTubers have plead not guilty after being charged with video game gambling offences, one of which has been accused of inviting children to gamble by marketing a betting website connecting to the football title Fifa.
Craig Douglas, who runs a YouTube channel under the pseudonym Nepenthe and Dylan Rigby, who headed up the now defunct but previously popular FutGalaxy denied the charges during a court appearance yesterday (14 October).
The duo were charged on 16 September in what is believed to be the first prosecution involving video games and ‘skin betting’, which is when collectable virtual items within titles are gambled online before being sold and turned back into real world money.
They stand accused of encouraging people to bet on the Fifa game using virtual currency, with Douglas – who boats more than 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube, many of them young – charged with two counts of promoting an unlicensed lottery and two counts of advertising unlawful gambling. Rigby, meanwhile, denies six counts of providing facilities for gambling, two counts of promoting an unlicensed lottery and two counts of advertising unlawful gambling.
The case has been adjourned until 6 February next year, when the court will hold a hearing expected to last around a one week.
Gambling advertising has been under the spotlight this week, as bookmakers and broadcasters took issue with proposed government ban on betting ads airing during daytime TV, claiming they would do little to protect children and addicts.
The allegations faced by the pair also come amid an ongoing debate around the regulation of influencers. In August, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) warned marketers that it is prepared to clamdown on social media campaigns that mislead consumers , while the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) recently launched the first ever template contract for advertisers to use when working with social talent in a bid to raise standards in the growing activity.
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