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YouTubers Face Criminal Charges Over 'FIFA Ultimate Team' Skin Gambling

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Known primarily for their FIFA-related content, Craig Douglas and Dylan Rigby both have been charged with offenses under the UK Gambling Act.

Douglas (NepentheZ on YouTube), who is known for frequently sharing video game-related content to his 1.3 million subscribers, is being charged with advertising the practice of unlawful gambling as well as inviting children to gamble using the in-game currency in FIFA games.

Dylan Rigby, owner of the now-defunct FUTGalaxy channel, is being charged with providing facilities for gambling, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) stated in a press release.

The charges are the first-ever case involving video game betting launched by the UKGC, responsible for regulating commercial gambling in Great Britain.

Douglas and Rigby have previously promoted and advertised their sites in the past, without full disclosure that they were advertisements. Their followers have constantly reminded them that such acts might possibly get them into trouble, but the pair ignored the warnings.

Despite facing prosecution, Douglas has resumed tweeting about regular topics about FIFA but has since expressed gratitude to his followers.

"I appreciate those who has reserved judgment without the full story, but fully understand those who haven't," Douglas tweeted

To date, both Douglas and Rigby have already appeared in the Birmingham Magistrate's Court, BBC reports. Their case has been adjourned until Oct. 14.

The charges against Douglas and Rigby complement UKGC's discussion paper published August, concerning e-games betting and online gambling in general.

An alarming study revealed that online gambling among teenagers are rising, Tech Times previously reported. The commission is worried about the number of minorities who may feel encouraged to participate in video game betting or online gambling after watching this kind of content.

"Our key concern is to ensure that consumers are protected and that children and other vulnerable people are not harmed or exploited by gambling," says Neil McArthur, general counsel at UKGC.

The UKGC is "warning parents that children can be drawn into betting on so-called skins — virtual goods such as weapons or clothes that are a feature of many popular games," BBC reports.

Skin gambling refers to the act of using skins — aesthetic or cosmetic in-game upgrades with no significant influence on the overall gameplay — that serve as the virtual currency with which players use to bet on the outcome of professional matches. Evan Lahti of PCGamer penned an in-depth explanation of this complex-but-nascent industry.

The BBC notes that the estimated global market in video game betting is worth £4 billion, or about $5.2 billion.

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