Update: Fines have been levied against both Douglas and Rigby after pleading guilty in court today. Douglas was ordered to pay £91,000 (about $113,000), while Rigby must pay £174,000 (about $217,000), according to The Guardian.
“The aggravating features of these offences are they were committed over a relatively long period of about six months,” said district judge Jack McGarva. “Children were gambling on your site. It’s impossible for me to know how many or the effect on them. In my opinion, both of you were aware of the use of the site by children and the attractiveness of it to children. At the very least, you both turned a blind eye to it.”
The Guardian notes how, during the trial, a YouTube video of Douglas was shown where he states, “You don’t have to be 18 for this, because this is a virtual currency.”
On Twitter this afternoon, Douglas posted a series of messages apologizing. “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.” He also said he intends to publish a “video in due course presenting my side of the story.”
The original story follows.
According to the BBC, Nepenthez (whose real name is Craig Douglas) and his business partner Dylan Rigby ran a site that allowed users to gamble FIFA coins–which, it is argued, hold real-world value–on real-life football matches. The men reportedly pleaded not guilty at first, but they have now switched their pleas.
The pair were charged in 2016 with inviting children to gamble (many of Nepenthez’s near-1.5 million subscribers are minors), as well as promoting a lottery and advertising unlawful gambling.
This case, which is being held at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, is the first of its kind in the UK; no individual or company had previously been prosecuted for running an unlicensed video game gambling website.
Nepenthez talked about the then-upcoming court case in a recent video. “I’ve got something coming up on Monday, 6th of February that could change my life, define my future,” he said. “There is a probability that I won’t be walking out of court on Monday morning, and that’s scary man, that’s really scary.”
Both Douglas and Rigby are yet to be sentenced.