Illegal Facebook lotteries targeted by the UK Gambling Commission

  • Updated
  • By Max Wright
Illegal Facebook Lotteries
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Ever been on Facebook and seen an opportunity to win a massive prize for just £1 by entering a raffle or lottery?  The allure of winning an expensive gift or a cash prize for such a low entry can be tempting, especially when there have already been so many legitimate winners. What’s the harm in trying?

The harm in that, it seems, is that these types of lotteries are illegal and completely unregulated. Which is why the UK Gambling Commission have conducted an investigation and shut down a network of lotteries being run on Facebook groups.

The illegal lotteries offered prizes that ranged from cash, to children’s toys and clothes, and operated across Facebook groups. Specifically, two people were promoting these across multiple groups, and both have been issues cease and desist letters from the UKGC for hosting and promoting illegal lotteries.

While this kind of behaviour may seem innocent or just a bit of fun, the lack of regulation or licensing means that players are not protected and the organisers have no obligation to ensure that the lottery is played fairly or legitimately.

The fact that people operating these lotteries can make huge amounts of profit if many people enter, coupled with a target audience of parents on Facebook who may see it as a way to win luxury items for a small entry fee, means that players could find themselves exploited, with no repercussions or protection in place.

Most of the lotteries you may be familiar with, like The National Lottery, are allowed to exist because their profits are channeled back into charities and organisations that benefit the public, whereas these illegal Facebook lotteries are run purely for profit.

Helen Venn of the UK 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.”

She continues: “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.”

If you are looking for a smaller lottery to enter, it would be better to look to one of the UK’s top charity lotteries, which offers better odds of winning a prize whilst still being regulated and licensed. Charity lotteries also mean your money goes to important causes, instead of the pockets of social media grifters.