AC Milan partners with Sorare to be part of the global NFT fantasy football game – European Game Industry News

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Article written by Ante Koivola, Legal Consultant at Legal Gaming

On May 24, 2022, the Finnish Supreme Administrative Court issued its ruling on IS-League Bursa-case (KHO: 2022: 60), in which the Supreme Administrative Court analyzed whether skill-based fantasy sports fall within the scope of Finnish Lottery Law (1047/2001) (“lottery law‘) and thus belong to the state-owned gambling company Veikkaus Oy’s (“swimming pools”) monopoly.

Finland has a legal monopoly on gambling, under which Veikkaus has exclusive rights to operate and market gambling. According to the lottery law, all games that include participation fees and prizes of monetary value and the result based on chance, are under the monopoly of Veikkaus. The main question in the case was whether it was sufficient for the game to be based on chance to be within the scope of lottery law and thus belong to the monopoly of Veikkaus, and if so, was the element of luck present? in skill-based fantasy sports.

IS-League Bursa– A case related to a popular fantasy sport in Finland, where participants form virtual ice hockey teams from real ice hockey players and points are awarded based on the ice hockey players’ performance in real ice hockey matches. The fantasy sports have included entrance fees and prizes, and have been run since 1995 by the Finnish media giant Sanoma Media Finland Oy (“messageIt was an undeniable fact that skilled and analytical participants who invested a significant amount of time in fantasy sports outperformed participants who randomly selected players.

The background to the case is long, with national authorities trying to shut down Sanoma-run fantasy sports for more than a decade. In 2008, the Ministry of the Interior applied for an investigation to the police, who conducted a preliminary investigation. However, in 2010, the Public Prosecution Office (“NPA”) a non-prosecution ruling stating that it has not been resolved whether the Fantasy Sports games in question fall within the scope of lottery law.

In 2017, the gambling law enforcement body, the National Police Board (“NPC”) became theNBB“) Administrative proceedings against Sanoma began in relation to fantasy sports, and two years later in 2019, the process reached the point where the NPB imposed a ban order and a conditional fine of €300,000 on Sanoma on the grounds that Sanoma was not allowed to operate fantasy sports. Because she qualifies for gambling Sanoma appealed to the Helsinki Administrative Court arguing that the fantasy sports in question were games of skill that chance had had no effect on the results, and therefore outside the scope of lottery law, but in 2021 the Helsinki Administrative Court ruled in favor of the NPB Sanoma appealed to the court Senior management.

The Supreme Administrative Court recognized that participants’ knowledge and skills were meaningful in the context of success, but at the same time reminded that random factors beyond the participant’s control were also of great importance. Thus, the chance of winning was based at least in part on luck. Since fantasy sports also included entrance fees and prize money, only Veikkaus were allowed to play them in Finland.

The Supreme Administrative Court’s decision was no surprise. The sweepstakes law definition of gambling is very broad, and a good example of this is that even ice fishing competition and auction were previously considered to fall within it. However, the decision solidified the authority of the NPB and it remains to be seen what the next competition or event they will go after next.

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