Gambling Apes were launched as part of an NFT project by Sand Vegas Casino Club (SVCC). Based in Cyprus, they created 7,777 Gambler and higher-end “Golden Gambler” NFTs using 120 different traits and designs. The project was advertised as an opportunity for holders to earn passive income. Money made from selling the NFTs would go towards buying land on Decentraland and Sandbox, building a metaverse casino, and sharing the casino profit with Gambling Ape NFT holders. The project has hit some speed bumps along the way. Especially a cease and desist order made by authorities of the American states of Texas and Alabama, leading to a ban from trading Gambling Apes on OpenSea.
Gambling Apes have a floor price of around £350 (ETH 0.3), while the volume traded sits at around £13,532 worth of ETH. They claim there are over 90,000 members of the Gambling Ape community, which is purely based on the number of users who are in their discord and followers on Twitter. The non-fungible tokens use 120 different traits, some of which were rarer than others. You can find apes with a minimalist Las Vegas backdrop, some wearing durags or hats or sunglasses or all three, and there are even Apes with cigars hanging out their mouth. Apes with less common traits tend to go for a higher price on the market.
On September 20, the Gambling Ape community acquired an area of land on Decentraland made up of 14 sections. The plan is for this area to eventually play host to a casino, but right now they are designing and working on securing the necessary license for operation. A virtual casino on Decentraland will mean players can attend and interact with metaverse avatars while enjoying online gambling using cryptocurrency. If it is launched, full access will be exclusive to Gambling Ape NFT holders but they will have to contend with the likes of Atari and the Bored Ape Yacht Club who both operate casinos in Decentraland.
As it stands, the only way to gamble with Gambling Apes is through their website which hosts a standard online casino. The games library is slowly filling out but they have teamed up with two games developer giants; Pragmatic Play and Evolution, who are helping to populate the website with games.
Gambling Apes were banned from the NFT trading and display platform OpenSea as a result of the cease and desist order that came amidst a cloud of scams and rug pulls in the NFT and cryptocurrency world. An NFT project known as Iconics saw a rug pull that took place on the Solana blockchain with a 17-year-old raking in $140,000 based on a false promise and the W3M project saw $235,000 stolen from investors.
It was reported in an article from CoinDesk that a member of the litigation and arbitration team of the Withers international law firm, Christopher LaVigne, said that the main issue with the SVCC Gambling Apes project was the promise of profit sharing, as this runs afoul of the Howey Test. The Howey Test is a Supreme Court measure for determining whether a transaction is an investment contract or not. The NFTs were categorized as unregistered securities. He also warned that if the Securities and Exchange Commission of the USA find any NFT marketplace guilty of providing an exchange platform for securities, it will treat them as an unlicensed exchange.
Despite this, Gambling Ape NFTs are now listed on LooksRare and it appears there is still trading activity. At the time they reacted by removing the Twitter profile related to the group, as tweets from high-profile team members quickly dried up. The main Twitter account is back up and running but they have not mentioned the metaverse since April 9th. Instead, the Tweets tend to direct token holders to gamblingapes.com which is just like other crypto casinos and definitely not in the metaverse.
The project forecasted that holders of Gambler Ape and Golden Gambler Ape NFTs could earn a passive income of $24,480 and $81,000 a year, respectively. This of course depends on how much money they make from how many NFTs are traded.
BlackyJefferson21 who is a project leader of the community, claimed on their Discord that they are working with lawyers and have reached out “in good faith” to Texas and Alabama authorities to attempt to negotiate the next step. Another leader explicitly stated that the Gambling Apes team were not approached by a governmental organization, adding that they
Right now, the future of Sand Vegas Casino Club’s Gambling NFT project is uncertain. However, their inability to trade on the most prominent NFT trading platform does not seem to have deterred the project, which still holds real estate on Sandbox and Decentraland. The law surrounding NFTs and metaverses is complicated, and they have not been forbidden from building the casino, just banned from trading on OpenSea and in Texas or Alabama. The forecasted figures are under threat unless BlackyJefferson21 and the team can successfully negotiate with the litigation and arbitration team of Withers, an international law firm.