Esports personality, once banned for alleged gambling, is suing Twitch to reopen his account.
Back in September 2017, we reported on the case of Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and Tom “Syndicate” Cassell, two online gaming luminaries who settled with the Federal Trade Commission over charges that the pair created a series of YouTube videos on their channels promoting a gambling site – without disclosing their personal involvement with it.
Turns out there was another gaming macher, James “PhantomL0rd” Varga, who was accused of roughly the same activity at around the same time. Back in July 2016, Twitch, an online gaming streaming service that spotlighted Varga, claimed that he had used a gambling site related to the popular Counter-Strike game GSCO Shuffle without disclosing that he owns the service.
The initial report was made by esports journalist Richard Lewis, whose evidence was Skype logs alleging the Varga-GSCO connection, given to him by an unnamed source. Twitch banned Varga – one of its most popular streamers, with more than 1 million followers.
Varga sued Twitch in the California Superior Court, San Francisco, in February 2018, accusing the company of breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith, intentional and negligent misrepresentation, and violation of California’s business and professional code.
According to his complaint, Varga signed a contract with Twitch back in 2012, which set him up as a Twitch content provider. Vargas and Twitch worked out a 70/30 split on the revenue generated by ads on the account, and the contract was structured as a two-year deal with automatic renewal every following year unless either party gave a nonrenewal notice 90 days prior to the term’s expiration. Vargas claims that in 2014, he and Twitch amended the contract to extend it by another two years, incorporating the original automatic renewal terms.
Vargas claimed that the only way out of the contract (saving bankruptcy) was for breach – in such a case, he maintained, the contract required the accusing party to furnish a written notice of the allegations, and the party could exit only if the breach went uncured for 30 days following that notice.
The nub of Varga’s lawsuit is his claim that Twitch never sent him written notice of any violation and didn’t provide 30 days for him to remedy whatever problem might have arisen. Twitch did send an order of “indefinite suspension,” but Varga claims that the order did not define the wrongdoing of which he was supposedly guilty. He also claims that later on, Twitch offered conflicting reasons for the suspension, including the supposed gambling violations, which he dismisses as “untrue and based on unchecked speculation arising from illegally obtained electronic records.”
Varga is suing for damages and the restoration of his Twitch account.