Katharine Lammiman

Katharine Lammiman

Trainee Solicitor

More from Katharine

14 February 2017

eSports Youtube providers fined for operating unlicensed gambling websites

Dylan Rigby (34) and Craig Douglas (33), who ran unlicensed gambling website FutGalaxy.com, appeared at Birmingham Magistrate’s Court on 18 September 2016 accused of advertising unlawful gambling under the Gambling Act 2005.  On 6 February 2017, the two British men both from Essex who entered guilty pleas to offences under the Gambling Act 2005, were ordered to pay fines; Rigby was ordered to pay £174,000 and Douglas was ordered to pay £91,000.

 

The pair admitted to being Directors of Game Gold Tradings Limited, a company which operated and advertised the unlicensed gambling website FutGalaxy.com. The website, which has no official association with FIFA or EA Sports, offered gambling products including sports betting, a jackpot lottery style game, and a higher or lower style game. Customers could buy virtual currency (FUT coins) on the website and use them to gamble, convert them to FIFA coins and sell them for real money on a secondary marketplace. The website reportedly had no age restrictions and allowed minors to use credit cards to place bets in virtual currencies.

 

The District Judge, DJ McGarva described the offending as “very grave”. He concluded that children had been gambling on the site but that it was impossible to know how many had done so and what the effect of the criminality has been; that, he said, was the “real mischief”. Having been shown footage of a 12 year old boy gambling on the website, the Judge described what he had seen as “horrific”, adding that the video had “hit home to me how serious this is”.

 

A particular concern raised by the Gambling Commission was the popularity of the websites and the extensive use by young people. Sarah Harrison, Gambling Commission CEO showed support for the recent ruling by warning that "all websites offering gambling facilities in Britain must be licensed; it is the only way in which children and vulnerable people can be protected. 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.”