Regulators Order Virtual Casino Firm to Stop Selling NFTs

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Texas and Alabama securities regulators have ordered a company to stop selling NFTs to raise funds for a virtual casino. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Clamping down

Securities regulators in Alabama and Texas have ordered a virtual casino firm to stop selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The regulators alleged on Wednesday that by illegally offering unregistered securities, the company was defrauding people.

an effort to raise funds to build metaverse-based virtual casinos

The firm in question, Sand Vegas Casino Club, allegedly had 11,111 NFTs on sale in an effort to raise funds to build metaverse-based virtual casinos. It incorrectly told possible buyers that these tokens were not categorized as securities. The Texas State Securities Board labeled the scheme a “high-tech fraudulent securities offering.”

The Cyprus-based Sand Vegas Casino Club promised buyers of the Golden Gambler and Gambler NFTs that they would get a cut of virtual casino profits. The firm had forecasted that proceeds would reach up to $81,000 annually.

OpenSea, the biggest marketplace for NFTs, has stopped the selling, transferring, and buying of Sand Vegas tokens as they violated the service terms of the platform.  

A notable moment

The cease and desist orders from the regulators are believed to be the first such orders with links to the metaverse. It also marks a notable moment in the regulatory crackdowns on NFTs, which have exploded in popularity over the past couple of years.

coordinating among states to investigate the offerings”

The Sand Vegas Casino Club is just one of a number of securities offerings that the Texas State Securities Board has uncovered in the metaverse. The regulator’s enforcement director Joe Rotunda said that the body is “coordinating among states to investigate the offerings and plan enforcement actions if necessary.”

The extensive interest in NFTs has led to a number of high-profile scams. Just last month, police arrested and charged two men as a result of a $1.1m NFT scam.

Despite the popularity of NFTs among certain investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is yet to offer any formal guidance on whether or not the tokens are considered securities in certain forms.

Growing interest in virtual casinos

As interest in the metaverse grows, a number of gambling-related projects have come to the fore. Most notably, well-known video game company Atari announced in March 2021 its plans to build a virtual casino in the Decentraland metaverse. 

The metaverse is an online-based 3D virtual environment where people can come together to work, socialize, gamble, and play.

A number of virtual casinos are already up and running in this digital space. One of the most notable offerings is the ICE Poker casino in Decentraland, which generated revenue of $7.5m for the three months ended in February.