Ahead of the start of a new football season this August, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has issued an industry note warning fantasy football operators to ensure that their leagues, prizes and promotions are in accordance with UK gambling laws.
The risk for those organising fantasy football leagues is that it could require a pool licence from the Gambling Commission, as prize values are determined by the number of paying entrants.
The exception to this is where it is not run in the course of a business, or where it is run privately, for example with residents of the same premises or between work colleagues.
One area that operators are being told to be particularly aware of to avoid being caught out is advertising and social media. The UKGC warns that when it comes to gambling, advertising includes doing anything that encourages someone gamble, or provides information about gambling facilities so that it will increase use. This also includes Twitter or Facebook posts, whether public, or private or within groups.
Promoting a fantasy football league in this way could mean it is being operated in the course of a business and need an operating licence.
Ben Haden, Programme Director at the Gambling Commission said: “Fantasy football 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.”