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Michael Owen criticized for endorsing an unlicensed crypto casino

According to reports from The Athletic, the previous England soccer star, Michael Owen, has been chastised for advertising Punt Casino, an unlicensed crypto casino, and this is in contravention of UK gambling legislation.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has instructed the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker to stop advertising an NFT (non-fungible token) idea that claims to be “the first-ever (NFTs) that can’t lose their initial value.”

Owen, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2001 and scored a total of 40 goals for England, was announced as Punt Casino’s “global brand ambassador” in February.

The press release said that he would be in different commercials and online ad campaigns for the casino, with a quote attributed to him that reads:

“I’m a strong believer in the power of crypto, so teaming up with an innovative platform like Punt Casino feels like a natural fit,” it read.

Regardless of Punt Casino’s lack of authorization in that jurisdiction, Owen’s profile happens to be a perfect match for the UK gambling industry.

“Punt” is a slang term for betting used exclusively in the United Kingdom.

According to The Athletic, the casino’s operations were “geo-blocked” for UK customers.

“Punt Casino is a fully licensed Curacao casino operating under the rules and regulations associated with that license,” a spokesperson told The Athletic. “We do not target or promote our casino to customers of any countries and/or jurisdictions not allowed by such license.”

From this message, it is questionable whether Punt Casino’s Curacao license permits it to market in the United Kingdom.

The NFT Scheme

Just after ASA’s action, Owen’s tweets in endorsement of the NFT program have now been deleted. Last month, the ex-footballer stated on Twitter, “Despite critics, my NFTs will be the first that can’t lose their initial value.”

NFTs are digital tokens that can symbolize proprietorship of a virtual item, like sports trading cards or online content, or even a physical asset, like a painting. Each NFT is peculiar. Once issued, it is everlasting and exclusive evidence of ownership that cannot be altered, destroyed, or duplicated.

The blockchain, the digital database that supports crypto currencies such as bitcoin, is used to monitor ownership. The market for NFTs is exploding, notably in the sports and digital arts industries, and its authors frequently earn millions. The market for non-exchange-traded funds grew during 2021 but has declined in recent months. The current average price is below half of its peak in March 2021.

The premise underlying Owen’s NFTs here is that every token carries a code that prevents it from being resold for less than its acquisition cost.

But no item is susceptible to market forces, and if no one is willing to purchase a token at its initial price, it is practically worthless.

The ASA stated that the tweet had the potential to misinform the public.

Presently, the agency is providing a thorough investigation of the concerns surrounding NFT promotion.

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