Two years ago, Twitch booted a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive streamer who, among other things, allegedly ran a potentially illegal and reportedly rigged site that let kids gamble on CS:GO skins. Earlier this year, that streamer sued the gigantic video platform. And now, Twitch is counter-suing the streamer saying he violated Twitch’s policies over 15 times.
Twitch filed the complaint on May 2 and it came to light last night. It pushes back against James “Phantoml0rd” Varga’s claims from his own February lawsuit that he was improperly kicked off Twitch, where he had 1.3 million followers.
James “Phantoml0rd” Varga is known for recording himself winning big money—from $600 to several thousand dollars—on CS:GO skin lottery sites like CSGOShuffle—without disclosing he allegedly partly owned the site.
According to leaked Skype chats first revealed by journalist Richard Lewis, Varga asked CSGOShuffle’s co-operator to rig its roulette outcomes and has apparently gambled with in-house currency. Twitch references those chats in its counter-suit, also citing videos and Twitch streams like “Phantoml0rd 29000$ win on CSGOShuffle,” that Varga use to promote his site. And minors gambled on it.
CSGOShuffle was wiped from the internet after the expose revealing its inner workings. Twitch determined that Varga had violated its terms of service and rules of conduct over 15 times (including breaking Valve’s terms of service and FTC rules, which in turn violates Twitch’s own terms of service). Back then, Twitch was also games-only, which made live-streaming skin gambling a no-no. After a suspension, Twitch eventually shut down his channel mid-2016.
It took two years for Varga to sue Twitch. In his complaint, filed February 14, 2018, he argues he wasn’t given a solid reason for his ban. Varga denied allegations against him, calling them “unsubstantiated,” but doesn’t specifically state he didn’t own CSGOShuffle. The suit adds, “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.”
Twitch has another story. “Throughout 2016, Twitch personnel sent Mr. Varga various notifications and had in-depth Skype conversations with Mr. Varga informing him that his CS:GO skin gambling content, along with his other objectionable content, violated his Agreement, Twitch’s Terms of Service and Rules of Conduct,” the suit reads. It continues on to note that Varga did not stop streaming skin-gambling content, and even launched a day-long giveaway.
Varga’s suit calls for compensation for damages incurred from being kicked off the platform. Twitch is asking for an undisclosed amount of financial compensation.