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Michael Owen ‘breached UK law by promoting an unlicensed cryptocurrency casino on Twitter’

Michael Owen ‘breached UK law by promoting an unlicensed cryptocurrency casino in Twitter posts he was forced to delete – after controversially advertising NFTs which could not lose their initial value’

  • Michael Owen has reportedly breached UK law relating to gambling advertising 
  • The ex-England star promoted an unlicensed cryptocurrency casino on Twitter 
  • In May, Owen posted tweets advertising ‘Punt Casino’, which has no UK licence
  • The tweets have been deleted; Punt Casino website is ‘geo-blocked’ for UK users
  • Owen was also told by the ASA to delete a non-fungible token promotion scheme

Michael Owen has deleted tweets which breached UK laws on gambling advertising, according to reports. 

The former England, Liverpool and Real Madrid striker made two Twitter posts which promoted unlicensed cryptocurrency casino ‘Punt Casino’. 

And, as reported by The Athletic, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ordered Owen to delete his promotion of a contentious non-fungible token (NFT) scheme which broke rules about advertising cryptocurrency products.

Michael Owen has reportedly deleted tweets which breached UK laws on gambling advertising

Michael Owen has reportedly deleted tweets which breached UK laws on gambling advertising

The former England, Liverpool and Real Madrid striker made two Twitter posts which promoted unlicensed cryptocurrency casino 'Punt Casino', which does not have a UK licence

The former England, Liverpool and Real Madrid striker made two Twitter posts which promoted unlicensed cryptocurrency casino ‘Punt Casino’, which does not have a UK licence

On May 16, Owen took to Twitter to promote Curacao-registered Punt Casino, which does not have a UK licence.

UK law dictates only firms approved by the UK Gambling Commission can be advertised to UK customers.

The tweets have since been deleted by the 42-year-old, and Punt Casino’s website has reportedly been geo-blocked, meaning those in the UK cannot access the website. 

A spokesperson said: ‘Punt Casino is a fully licensed Curacao casino operating under the rules and regulations associated with that license. 

Owen also came under heavy fire for encouraging people to invest in his latest NFT venture

Owen also came under heavy fire for encouraging people to invest in his latest NFT venture

His controversial claims that they cannot lose their value have provoked widespread scrutiny

His controversial claims that they cannot lose their value have provoked widespread scrutiny 

‘We do not target or promote our casino to customers of any countries and/or jurisdictions not allowed by such license… Punt Casino takes its responsibilities as a legitimate and licensed casino operator very seriously.’

Owen has said about the company: ‘I’m a strong believer in the power of crypto, so teaming up with an innovative platform like Punt Casino feels like a natural fit.’ 

Punt Casino, based on the Caribbean island of Curacao, accepts cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum as payment.

Andrew Green, also involved in the project, said 'we cannot guarantee or say... you cannot lose'

Andrew Green, also involved in the project, said ‘we cannot guarantee or say… you cannot lose’

Owen has been accused of 'encouraging people to invest hard-earned cash in risky assets'

Owen has been accused of ‘encouraging people to invest hard-earned cash in risky assets’

This is unusual in the UK because the gambling regulator says the practice has sizeable risks of criminal activity, for example money laundering.

Owen was also told by the ASA to delete a tweet advertising NFTs, which courted controversy due his claims they were ‘the first-ever that can’t lose their initial value’. 

A spokesperson for Owen said the case is now closed after he removed the tweet.

He appeared to believe the NFTs contain code which means it cannot be sold for less than it was bought for – but if someone buys one and the price goes down, the customer reportedly cannot cut their losses by selling up – so they lose the whole amount they paid. 

WHAT ARE NFTs?  

What is a NFT? A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is a unique digital token encrypted with an artist’s signature and which verifies its ownership and authenticity and is permanently attached to the piece.

What do they look like? Most NFTs include some kind digital artwork, such as photos, videos, GIFs, and music. Theoretically, anything digital could be turned into a NFT.  

Where do you buy them? At the moment, NFTs are most commonly sold in so-called ‘drops’, timed online sales by blockchain-backed marketplaces like Nifty Gateway, Opensea and Rarible.

Why would I want to own one?  There’s an array of reasons why someone may want to buy a NFT. For some, the reason may be emotional value, because NFTs are seen as collectors’ items. For others, they are seen as an investment opportunity similar to cryptocurrencies, because the value could increase.  

When were NFTs created?  Writer and podcaster Andrew Steinwold traced the origins of NFTs back to 2012, with the creation of the Colored Coins cryptocurrency. NFTs didn’t move into the mainstream until five years later, when the blockchain game CryptoKitties began selling virtual cats in 2017. 



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