Gambling Commission issues fantasy football warning

The Gambling Commission is warning organisers of fantasy football leagues that they might require a pool betting operating licence if prize values are determined by the number of paying entrants.

The exception to this is where the fantasy football league 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.

The Commission is telling organisers to be particularly aware of advertising and social media:

  • In relation to gambling, “advertising” includes doing anything that encourages someone to gamble, or that provides information about gambling facilities so that it will increase use. This includes Twitter or Facebook posts, whether public, or private or within groups.
  • Promoting a fantasy football (or other sports) league in this way could mean it is being operated in the course of a business and will need an operating licence.

We have considerable experience in advising clients on this subject and in making successful applications to the Commission for pool betting (and other) licences.

Ben Haden, programme director at the Gambling Commission, is quoted as saying: “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.”

The Commission’s advice on “Fantasy football and gambling” can be downloaded below.

Download article PDF: GC Fantasy football and gambling