As reported by BNR, the Dutch Gaming Authority is investigating fantasy football NFT platform Sorare after Ajax football players Sorare traded NFTs on the basis of inside information. The best football competition in the country, the Eredivisie, is a partner of so rare, which has official NFT cards for all teams and players of the league. The national football organization KNVB informs BNR that the rules of the game of the organization do not extend to non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Sorare has responded to the allegations below.
Sorare’s platform operates a fantasy football game where users buy or trade players’ cards as NFTs and choose from their collection a weekly lineup of five players to go against the lineups of other users. The performance of the digital team is dependent on the actual playing stats of the players during the matches of the week. Among other factors, users’ expectations of a player’s future performance on the field influence the market price of their NFT cards.
In the run-up to last weekend’s Eredivisie cup final, Ajax player Daley Blind sold goalkeeper Andre Onana’s NFT. He and teammate Klaassen bought NFTs from reserve goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg on Sorare’s marketplace. It was subsequently revealed that Stekelenburg was the starting goalkeeper for the match, leading to accusations of the players’ use of inside information.
This isn’t the first time Sorare has faced regulatory issues. Previously, the UK authorities have investigated the platform for operating a gambling game without a gambling license.
A 2018 study conducted by MIT on American football concluded that fantasy gaming is inherently a competition that rewards skill, distinguishing it from gambling and betting.
In the Dutch situation, the problem is that the regulation on the extent to which players can profit from inside information is not explicit when it comes to digital assets.
The KNVB has strict rules regarding players who profit from the prediction of results or individual performance and has previously suspended players for betting money on their own matches. However, the organization confirmed that the regulations do not apply to NFTs. Given the recent development in the cup final, the KNVB will check, revise and possibly update the current code.
This is not exclusive to the Eredivisie. Other football leagues have strict protocols against insider trading and gambling activities. However, as NFTs and fantokens are new, most regulations have not yet been updated to address potential concerns related to these digital assets. Authorities will likely need to tighten up what is and is not allowed in the area of digital trading of collectibles, which could lead to players being banned from such initiatives.
We asked Sorare if it would consider creating its own insider trading rules and monitoring gaming activity for suspicious transactions. A spokesperson replied: “We are reviewing recent reports of unfair behavior by professional football players and will take action where necessary to ensure fair play for our community. Sorare’s top priority is to build a fun and fair platform for sports fans. We do not condone any dishonest behavior from our users and are actively adjusting our game rules to ensure that our pretend play is a level playing field for everyone.”
Sorare was valued at $4.3 billion when it raised $680 million in financing late last year.
Meanwhile, Sorare has signed his 10th football league worldwide to his roster, the Scottish Premiership. so rare will manage the league’s first-ever official fantasy football game. Previously signed leagues include the MLS† Bundesligaand La Liga†