UKGC Investigates Potential Premier League NFT Partner

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The UK Gambling Commission is investigating Sorare, the potential non-fungible token partner of the English Premier League. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Made the shortlist

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is investigating the English Premier League’s (EPL) potential non-fungible token (NFT) partner Sorare.

could be worth more than £400m ($545m)

The EPL has shortlisted the French company as a possible partner, with the soccer league estimating that launching a series of digital collectibles could be worth more than £400m ($545m) to its teams.

Sorare is reportedly one of four candidates to have applied for the very first Premier League NFT license. The EPL will reportedly ask its teams to approve the chosen applicant next week.

However, the UKGC is currently investigating whether Sorare requires a UK operating license. The regulator informed Sportsmail on Thursday that its inquiry is still ongoing.

Basis of the investigation

Sorare already has a relationship with LaLiga, the leading soccer league in Spain. Together, they launched a blockchain-based fantasy soccer game available to people in the UK. However, Sorare did not get a UK license to do so, leading the UKGC to warn that the offering does not adhere to gambling regulations.

Following this, the UKGC began an investigation into Sorare last October. In a consumer information notice, the regulator stated that it was “carrying out inquiries into the company to establish whether Sorare.com requires an operating license or whether the services it provides do not constitute gambling.”

Sorare offers NFTs for some of Europe’s most popular soccer teams, including Bayern Munich, Liverpool, and Juventus. Users of the platform can trade players, enter tournaments, and compete for prizes. Last month, a digital trading card for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland sold for a record £511,000 ($684,000).

Cashing in on NFTs

Many other major sports leagues have already launched similar NFT offerings. One of the most popular to date is NBA Top Shot. Other major sports leagues like the NFL, MLB, and UFC have recently gone live with their own NFT platforms alongside partners.

Numerous sports stars have also started to cash in on the NFT hype. Last month, the Premier League launched legal proceedings against former Chelsea captain John Terry for promoting NFTs featuring the EPL trophy.

Despite the success of NFTs, secondary markets for trading the collectibles have come under scrutiny due to their lack of regulation. Some opponents have also likened opening packs of NFTs to controversial loot boxes in video games.