An English Premier League football club is raising concerns over its “Bitcoin BTC lottery” sponsor after becoming aware of its previous business practices.
Yesterday, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC announced a partnership with CryptoMillionsLotto, a lottery which pays gamblers a reward, in Bitcoin, for referring new players, the Mirror reports. To play the lottery a user must also have enough Bitcoin in their account to cover the costs of each game.
However, according to the report, concerns at Wolves are growing after it was uncovered that CryptoMillionsLotto CEO Sulim Malook’s previous company, Fat Cat Gaming, failed. Malook also reportedly doesn’t have a UK gambling licence.
In a comment to Mirror Sport, Malook said that whilst “We [CryptoMillionsLotto] don’t have a UK gambling licence… we aren’t doing business in the UK.” Whilst Premier League football clubs do have global reach, it seems interesting to sponsor a UK-based club despite not “doing the business in the UK.”
A list of concerns
Indeed, a look at CryptoMillionsLoto’s “how to play” website section highlights a number of concerns.
The Bitcoin referral rewards appear to be serviced by another company called “Earn Bitcoin,” when you sign up with CryptoMillionsLotto you also automatically create an account at www.earnbitcoin.world. What happens to your data here is unclear.
Players must also load their accounts with Bitcoin to play the lottery, what happens to the Bitcoin after this is unclear.
What’s more, winnings in Bitcoin are also paid out to a cryptocurrency wallet called Walleto. Whilst users are allowed to deposit Bitcoin to their account from any wallet, it appears that if they win, they must accept winnings in this wallet.
Who owns the Bitcoin?
The Walleto website only shows a login screen, there appears to be no way of setting up an account let alone any description of how to use the wallet and potentially withdraw funds. It’s also unclear if Walleto is a custodial or non-custodial service, which presents another red flag.
According to the CryptoMillionsLotto website: “All prizes are paid in Bitcoin except the jackpot and the prize for picking 6 numbers.” There is no mention of how a user would withdraw these funds from the prescribed wallet, though.
If that wasn’t concerning enough, it appears that winnings are paid out of an insurance scheme reportedly backed by Lloyds. In some cases it could take up to two years for winnings to be released.
If these red flags weren’t enough, according to the Mirror’s report, CryptoMillionsLotto’s parent company also used to run AfroMillionsLotto, which is now defunct. However, Malook claims that this business has been integrated into CryptoMillionsLotto.
Malook’s previous business, Fat Cat Gaming, reportedly paid bloggers to promote the company’s products in India in exchange for shares which turned out to be worth little and very difficult to cash in.
Wolves officials have reportedly gone back to the agency that recommended CryptoMillionsLotto as a sponsor partner. Perhaps it’s worth treading with extreme caution on this one.
Hard Fork has contacted CryptoMillionsLotto for further comment on these concerns and will update this piece as soon as we receive a reply.
Published November 21, 2019 — 09:07 UTC