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Famous YouTube FIFA gamer fined for gambling offences

20:09 GMT 06/02/2017
The popular gamer avoided a jail sentence for running a betting site which made real money from gambling with FIFA Ultimate Team's virtual currency

YouTube gamer Craig Douglas, who performs under the name Nepenthez, has been fined for gambling offences involving the best-selling EA Sports video game FIFA.

Douglas, along with business partner Dylan Rigby, pleaded guilty to the charge of running a website which allowed gamers to gamble virtual currency from the FIFA Ultimate Team game mode.

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Ultimate Team mode allows players to buy players with virtual coins, but Douglas and Rigby encouraged gamers to gamble these coins on real world football games, something they used to make a real-life profit.

Both men were charged with being officers of a firm that provided facilities for gambling without an operating licence, as well as being charged for the advertising of unlawful gambling.

Douglas, who has over 1.4 million YouTube subscribers, posted messages to his followers on Twitter following the sentencing, writing: "The worst year of my life concluded today. I have so much to say, but you’ll take whatever judgement you feel needed from the press. 

"I want to thank all of those that have supported me through my journey. I would understand any viewers choice to no longer watch my content. I owe a huge apology to my family and close friends for putting them through this process, and appreciate all those that stood by me.

"I also owe a huge apology and debt of gratitude to my loyal supporters. Even if this is the end of our journey together, I’m grateful. I’ll upload a video in due course presenting my side of the story. The facts remain I plead guilty to two charges, and a substantial fine was the outcome. I’d like once again to apologise to everyone and thank you all for being a part of my life. May our journey go forth."

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Ultimate Team is one of the most popular modes in EA's major sports franchises, FIFA, Madden NFL, and NHL, where gamers can legally buy random packs for real cash in order to add players to their squads.

Last year, EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen told a Morgan Stanley investor conference that Ultimate Team was worth $650m in revenue each year.