The news comes after extensive discussions since March 2021 over the ANJ’s concerns about the lack of regulations for web3-enabled gaming offers such as that provided by Sorare. The ANJ wants to protect the public from excessive gambling, protect minors and ensure anti-money laundering compliance.
Powered by blockchain technology, Sorare’s football fantasy game allows players to buy, sell and trade virtual teams represented by digital player cards. The NFTs are priced in ETH but can be bought and sold with fiat or cryptocurrencies. The game itself is free, and so are some common cards which can be used in certain games but aren’t worth anything financially. But the more desirable player NFT cards can be very pricey. To buy NFTs for a decent quality fantasy football team could easily cost a gamer hundreds of euros.
The French web3 start-up has seen tremendous growth since its launch in 2018, having raised $680 million in Series B funding and partnering with over 300 sports teams and organizations, including LaLiga, the Bundesliga, and Serie A in football as well as the NBA and MLB.
The solution proposed by Sorare will consist of amending its free access game offer to come into effect by the agreed timeframe. In the interim, ANJ will implement controls to ensure compliance by Sorare ahead of March 31. Failure to meet the deadline will result in ANJ exercising its regulatory powers. It also plans to get regulations updated to account for web3 activities.
In response to the ANJ’s announcement, the gaming company said in a statement, “Sorare has decided, at the request of the Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), to temporarily change its offer by opening up new gaming possibilities for free users. This development is part of the company’s roadmap to build an inclusive ecosystem.”
It continued, “To make the development of these innovations possible in France, the ANJ agrees on the importance of building a long-term regulatory framework adapted to this new situation. Sorare shares this urgent need and is committed to working with all stakeholders, including the ANJ, to define this new framework.”
As Sorare is one of the pioneers in this innovation in Europe, the ANJ is not the only regulator knocking on Sorare’s doors. Last year, the UK’s Gambling Commission issued a notice that Sorare is not licensed by the Commission and launched an enquiry. However, the Commission has since been silent on the matter.