It has been reported today that a number of illegal lotteries operating through the social networking platform Facebook have been shut-down in a new crackdown following an extensive investigation lead by the UKGC.
The UKGC worked closely with partners of UK law enforcement through GAIN – the Government Agency Intelligence Network – as well as specialists from Facebook to disrupt the illegal activity on the platform.
In order to protect consumers and reduce the risk to vulnerable people, the investigation focused on uncovering a series of illegal and unlicensed lottery operations that were taking place on Facebook.
The unlicensed lotteries were offering a number of different prizes to entrants, which included clothing, cash and children’s toys.
As part of the crackdown on these operations, cease and desist letters were issued to individuals after the individuals and groups had been identified during the investigations, by the North East Regional Special Operations and South West Regional Organised Crime Units.
According to reports, hundreds of people were entering the illegal lotteries at any one time, but the focus of the investigation was the individuals operating and moderating them.
Additionally, the UKGC worked closely with Facebook and law enforcement to shut-down these unlicensed operators that increased the risk of gambling harm to members of the public.
By operating lotteries through platforms like Facebook, individuals and groups are not only breaching social media standards, but also breaching gambling rules in the United Kingdom.
The UKGC have stated that illegal lotteries such as the ones shut-down here will continue to be targeted in 2022 as part of a crackdown.
Helen Venn of the UKGC commented:
There were hundreds of people taking part in these lotteries but it was important to identify those who were organising and moderating them illegally.
Working alongside our colleagues at Facebook and the police, we are pleased that key individuals have been identified and this type of activity, which only increases the risk of gambling harm, has been disrupted.
Illegal lotteries, including those taking place through social media channels, will continue to be a focus for our enforcement work this year as we link up closely with platforms like Facebook to pinpoint not only the activity, but those behind it and those who are breaching gambling rules and social media standards.