- Facebook raffles effectively allowing unlicensed gambling
- Many raffles are suspected to be scams with no prizes on offer
- Potential addiction issues for repeat players
Facebook raffles are effectively allowing unlicensed gambling in the UK and potentially scamming players out of their money, according to a report on BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire news programme.
The problem is so serious the UK Gambling Commission has had to fire a warning, as seen in the clip below.
Facebook raffles & scammers: "If they're not licensed, they're illegal. Plain and simple" – @GamRegGB
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) September 4, 2017
The number of groups on Facebook offering raffles has grown rapidly in recent years, and so has the number of players – with some individuals belonging to tens of different groups on the social media network which promise enticing prize draws on a regular basis.
Yet not only have Facebook struggled to crack down on this form of unlicensed gambling, there are also fears that many of the pages are in fact scams, with players not having a fair chance of winning the prize – if one exists at all.
One page on the site, run by Liz Hodgson, has emerged to detail any potential scams involving Facebook raffles and to warn players of the dangers involved.
Tracie Morgans, a member of Liz’s page, claims that one raffle organiser boasted of having “walked away with £519 worth of people’s money” with a scam raffle.
There are even potential addiction issues at play. “Quite a lot of the posts on the scammers group are where people have placed their last £50 or £60 on one raffle. And they’ve got children and they’re spending their children’s money”, said Liz.
Facebook have a policy of shutting down any raffles that aren’t licensed by the regulator the UK Gambling Commission.
But as with many other types of illegal or banned activity on the site, the moderators struggle to cope with the sheer volume of pages springing up.
One case highlighted on the programme even had a raffle that said the money raised would go to charity – only for the organiser to pocket the cash themselves.
The police have been brought in to investigate that complaint – but how to tackle the wider problem is something that might have to lie with Facebook’s apparently hard-pressed moderators.
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