Following yesterday’s decision to plead guilty to gambling offenses, FUTGalaxy owners Craig ‘Nepenthez’ Douglas and Dylan Rigby have been convicted and fined. The UK Gambling Commission reports that Rigby has been ordered to pay £174,000, while Douglas as been ordered to pay £91,000. Both figures include fines and costs.
Their site, FUTGalaxy allowed players to purchase virtual ‘FUT coins’ and use them for illegal, unlicensed (and in many cases, underaged) gambling. Gambling winnings could be turned into EA’s official FIFA Coin currency, which in turn could be sold on a third-party site (in which Rigby “had an interest”) for real money. YouTube gaming channels were used to promote and advertise this illegal activity.
FUTGalaxy was not, of course, officially affiliated with EA Sports; but the structure of randomised ‘player packs’, massive popularity, and the system of virtual currency made it a prime title for such a scheme.
The extent of the gambling operation was revealed after the Commission secured search warrants for the defendants’ homes, and seized “electronic devices and company documents”. District Judge DJ McGarva referred to the offenses as “very grave”, particularly in regard to children gambling through the site.
“This was one of the most serious cases that has been investigated and prosecuted by the Commission,” Commission CEO Sarah Harrison is quoted as saying. “The defendants knew that the site was used by children and that their conduct was illegal but they turned a blind eye in order to achieve substantial profits.”