UKGC closes illegal lotteries operating on Facebook in joint investigation
A survey conducted by the UK Gambling Commission, in partnership with UK law enforcement partners through the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) and specialists from Facebook, saw the disruption of illegal lotteries operating on the social networking platform, the regulator announced on Wednesday.
According to the UKGC, working in partnership has been a “success” in stopping illegal products. The Commission’s investigation focused on the operation of unlicensed lotteries given the risks they posed to consumers and vulnerable people.
Lotteries, which offered a variety of cash prizes, children’s toys and clothing, saw two people identified for promoting illegal activities and removed from related Facebook groups after receiving cease and desist letters from Regional Special Operations Units North East and Regional Organized Crime South West respectively, the UKGC says.
“There were hundreds of people participating in these lotteries but it was important to identify those who were running and moderating them illegally,” said Helen Venn, executive director of the Gambling Commission.. “Working alongside our colleagues at Facebook and law enforcement, we are pleased that key individuals have been identified and that this type of activity, which only increases the risk of harm from gambling, has been disrupted. .”
Venn, who leads the Commission’s licensing, compliance and enforcement teams, further added that many of these lotteries don’t give out any funds to good causes and that consumers who participate in them “don’t have legal protection.”
“Illegal lotteries, including those taking place on social media, will continue to be a focus of our enforcement work this year as we partner closely with platforms like Facebook to identify not only the activity, but also those behind it and those who violate the rules of the game and social media norms,” explained the executive director.
A partnership between the Commission, UK law enforcement partners in the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) and Facebook specialists, has seen the disruption of illegal lotteries operating on the social media platform. Read more: https://t.co/vJQ2sOxYJZ pic.twitter.com/4u314wCti6
– Gaming Commission (@GamRegGB) February 2, 2022
“We know that the real winners of illegal lotteries, which often promise high-value cash prizes and draws, are too often the people who run them. – and they persist in their attempts to keep operating,” said David Gill, GAIN coordinator at the South West Regional Organized Crime Unit. “We will continue to support the Gambling Commission by targeting and disrupting those who profit from these illegal schemes.”
According to Gill, work such as that carried out in partnership with the UKGC and Facebook shows “the value and absolute necessity” of the full range of enforcement agencies working together “as part of the GAIN network”.
“It is important to recognize the harm that illegal gambling can cause, especially when unregulated lotteries like these benefit from targeting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities., especially those caught in a cycle of addiction,” described Kevin Benson, GAIN Coordinator based at the Northeast Regional Special Operations Unit. “We will continue to work alongside our partners and help disrupt illegal gambling platforms.”