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Fantasy sports organisers warned to keep gambling laws in mind

UKGC warns fantasy sports organisers

UKGC warns fantasy sports organisers

THE UK Gambling Commission has warned fantasy sports organisers about running unauthorised tournaments.

Fantasy sports tournaments, which involves players creating their own team for a range of sports including football, golf, NFL and more, can be run by big operators or within small groups.

But the UK gambling regulator has highlighted that some fantasy league organisers may require a pool betting license from the UKGC, depending on the tournament size and the number of paying participants.

An organiser may need a license if there’s a large number of participants, since punters pay an entry fee which contributes to the overall prize pool.

The gambling rules only apply to fantasy sports tournaments run by organisers which could be considered a business. Private social contests, such as tournaments conducted by work colleagues, are exempt from these conditions.

The UKGC asks organisers to answer the following questions to determine whether they need a license;

    • Does it look and feel like commercial gambling?
    • Is it run for profit?
    • Is there any deduction for running costs?
    • Is the source of participants beyond a genuine circle of friends and relations?
    • Is advertising used to obtain participants?
    • Is the size of the league beyond what is normal for a private league?
    • Can any member of the public view or join the league?
    • What is the level of activity required in running the league?
    • Are there any wider revenue sources?

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The UKGC also warned fantasy sports organisers that they could breach advertising standards. This includes on social media.

Promoting fantasy sports on social media, including public and private groups on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat could result in the operators requiring a license. This also includes encouraging someone to bet or promoting gambling sites for punters to use.

The UKGC announcement comes just in time for the English Premier League season in August.

Programme director at the Gambling Commission, Ben Haden, said that DFS “is no doubt a popular pastime for many during football season and many will be thinking about setting up their own league this summer.”

“We want to ensure that those organising these leagues – whether it’s between friends, work colleagues or otherwise – are aware of the legalities and do not breach gambling rules,” he added.

Several licensed fantasy sports sites operate in the UK betting market, including DraftKings UK and FanDuel, as well as Yahoo DFS and PlayON.

The popular operators, DraftKings and FanDuel, also serve the US market and recently announced they would be scrapping plans to merge. The operators were already facing a big challenge and revealed they would be continuing forward as separate companies.

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