NFT Fantasy Soccer Game Under Investigation By UK Gambling Commission

A UK gambling watchdog is trying to determine whether or not Sorare should be required to have a gambling license.

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UK Gambling Commission in Birmingham; Source: Shutterstock

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key takeaways

  • Sorare denied any allegations of regulated gambling on its platform on Tuesday
  • The company closed a Series B funding round of $680 million in September

Sorare, a popular non-fungible token (NFT) fantasy soccer game, is under investigation by a UK gambling regulator, a consumer information notice revealed. 

Developed in 2018 and similar to traditional fantasy soccer, Sorare’s platform allows users to trade, buy, and manage a virtual team. 

However, the blockchain-based platform utilizes digital trading cards which have been tokenized as NFTs instead. This allows users to verifiably own the cards and later resell/trade with other players in the game. Over 100 soccer clubs have partnerships with the platform, including household names like Liverpool and Real Madrid.   

Sorare, a Paris-based company, operates “outside of the gambling regulations that a licensed operator should comply with,” according to the gambling watchdog’s statement dated October 8. Additionally, they cautioned users to consider this when deciding whether or not to play the game. 

To be clear, Sorare does not offer any traditional forms of gambling. Since the digital trading cards’ monetary value is contingent upon player performance, regulators have questioned its categorization. 

Shortly after the inquiry, Sorare denied accusations of “regulated gambling” and dismissed rumors of illegal activity in an official statement on Tuesday.

“This has been confirmed by expert legal opinions at every stage since the company was founded, including during a number of fundraising rounds,” the post detailed. 

Sorare said that they will “engage and have an open dialogue with authorities who reach out to us to learn more about our game.”

“We believe this is the responsible way to grow our game and community globally.”

Sorare
Sorare founders Nicolas Julia (left) and Adrien Montfort; Source: Sorare

The NFT platform made headlines in late-September, when they announced one of Europe’s largest Series B funding rounds at $680 million, Blockworks previously reported. The round was led by SoftBank with participation from Atomico, Bessemer Ventures, D1 Capital, Eurazeo, IVP, Liontree and others.

The Gambling Commission and Sorare did not immediately return Blockworks’ request for comment.

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