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Twitch suspends popular CSGO skin gambling streamer Phantoml0rd

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Allegations were raised earlier this week that James "PhantomL0rd" Varga, a Twitch streamer who according to PCGamesN has—or had—nearly 1.4 million followers, is also the owner of CSGO skin gambling site CSGOShuffle, which he heavily promoted on his channel without any sort of disclosure. The claims came to light after a hacker who was actually trying to rip the site off discovered Skype logs of conversations between Varga and CSGOShuffle coder Duhau Joris, which he provided to YouTuber Richard Lewis.   

There's no photo of Varga standing over a body with a smoking gun in his hand, but Lewis says the exchanges between him and Joris “heavily suggest, almost to a degree of certainty, that PhantomL0rd is the owner of CSGOShuffle, and on top of that, he has gambled exclusively with 'house money' taken from the business.” The logs he presents in his video would appear to bear that out: Varga makes some rather large payments to Joris, seeks help winning bets, and appears clearly to be the man in charge.

The whole thing has powerful echoes of the recent CSGO Lotto fiasco, in that it appears all but certain that Varga was using his channel to promote a gambling site that he has a financial interest in. This is not allowed by either the FTC or Valve, and Twitch recently clarified its own position on the matter, which is basically that if a streamer breaks a third-party's terms of service, he also breaks Twitch's, and will be punished accordingly. 

And that's what appears to have happened to Phantoml0rd, whose Twitch channel has been closed “due to terms of service violations.” Specific reasons for the shutdown aren't provided, and Varga himself seems to have gone to ground: He hasn't tweeted or posted a video to his YouTube channel since July 16, when he proclaimed—ironically, as it turns out—that his channel was about to undergo a big change. The CSGOShuffle website is also currently down. 

I've reached out to Varga for comment, and will update if and when I receive a reply.

Andy Chalk
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.