The UK Gambling Commission has confirmed the closing down of what it calls ‘hundreds’ of illegal lotteries operating on Facebook, as it seeks to constantly strengthen its protection of vulnerable, and possibly young, social media users.
Working alongside the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN), and Facebook’s own specialists, the Commission focused on the operation of illegal and unlicenced lotteries, offering a variety of cash prizes, children’s toys. The joint investigation resulted in the identification of two individuals for promoting illegal activity. The pair were subsequently removed from associated Facebook groups and issued with ‘Cease & Desist’ letters by the Northeast Regional Special Operations and Southwest Regional Organised Crime Units.
Helen Venn, Executive Director of the Gambling Commission said: “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 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.”