Skin-Gambling Streamer Sues Twitch For Banning Him Two Years Ago

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skin gambling streamer James "Phantoml0rd" Varga has filed a lawsuit against streaming platform Twitch for banning him two years ago, saying Twitch breached its contract by improperly suspending him.

Phantoml0rd

Varga had amassed over a million followers on Twitch before the Goliath streaming company kicked him off in July 2016. He was one of the top 10 streamers on the site, where fans viewed his content more than 88 million times. Varga earned followers streaming League of Legends, but in 2014, pivoted to something shadier: CS:GO skin gambling. In YouTube videos and on Twitch, Varga recorded himself winning anywhere from $US600 ($758) to several thousand dollars in skin lotteries on sites such as CSGOShuffle. An exposé by journalist Richard Lewis reported that Varga was affiliated with CSGOShuffle and potentially owned it without disclosing that in his content.

After the exposé, in July 2016, Twitch slammed the ban hammer down on Varga. Now, Varga is fighting to get his Twitch channel back and win compensation for financial damages due to his ban.

The reason for Varga's ban was threefold, although in the suit, Varga complains that he wasn't provided with a solid reason until after his ban. Varga allegedly violated the site's content guidelines by claiming fake bot subscribers and broadcasting non-gaming content. (At the time, Twitch did not allow streamers to venture outside of gaming.) He was allegedly streaming too much of this skin gambling and not enough good ol' games. (The new lawsuit quotes Varga's manager asking him to stream skin gambling in spurts of 30 minutes or less, or he'd get flagged for a suspension).

Perhaps more importantly, Twitch says Varga's skin gambling stream violated the company's Terms of Service. Promoting your CS:GO gambling site without disclosing it's yours violates both Valve's ToS and FTC rules, therefore also violating Twitch's ToS. In the meantime, Varga has been streaming on YouTube, which is known to be a little more hands-off about its streamers' content.

The lawsuit, filed on February 14 in the Superior Court of California, claims that Varga was banned in an improper manner and, perhaps, should not have been banned at all. Varga did not violate the site's Terms of Service, the suit argues, citing Lewis's "unsubstantiated allegations" against him in his expose. If Lewis was wrong that Varga owned or was affiliated with CSGOShuffle, there wasn't a good reason to ban him, the lawsuit suggests.

The lawsuit reads, "Twitch apparently accepted as true false allegations published by an unscrupulous commentator," adding, "As a result of Twitch's improper suspension of Varga's Twitch.tv account, and also as a result of Twitch's misrepresentation as to what content Varga was permitted to broadcast, Varga has incurred significant monetary damages." In a YouTube video posted earlier this week, Lewis denies that his report was unsubstantiated. The lawsuit also does not specifically say that Varga had no connection with CSGOShuffle.

The suit goes on to accuse Twitch of using Varga to "deflect negative press" over the CS:GO gambling scandal and "divert attention from the fact that Twitch continued to knowingly allow such conduct to continue on other Twitch channels". Twitch declined a request for comment, explaining that it does not talk about pending litigation. Varga has not responded to a request for comment.

Even though Twitch's guidelines have expanded to include an IRL section, where streamers can do whatever they want, Varga couldn't come back and skin gamble, even if he was unbanned. CS:GO skin gambling still violates Valve's Terms of Service.


Comments

    I mean, he didn't disclose his sponsorship/ownership of the product he was using, which i believe is a Federal law in america?

    and i'm sure that Twitch's TOS would say "don't break the law live on stream"

      that's probably the real issue. the other stuff is just terms of service things you might find a way around if you're clever. not disclosing the ownership of the company is altogether a different story.

      He hid the fact he partially owned the very site he was gambling on. On top of being shady as fuck doing that, he promoted said site to children (not sure if its 18 or 21 to legally gamble in US) so he should consider himself extremely lucky the government didn't bend him over and raw-dog him for that.

    I am wondering why this guy (or any of thosr CSGO scammers) didnt end up in jail.

    The wrong agency arrested and prosecuted them, they should of been curb stompef all the way down to either an Antigambling state or the Las Vegas gambling commission for unlincesed gambling across state and international lines.

    P.s. the statute of limitations on that hasnt passed. There is still time to prosecute those #$/@s.

    hey look, another self entitled streamer complaining about money like the world owes him a living

    How to turn your entire audience against you.

    An example by Phantomlord

    This guy is pure scum

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