Official Letter to the UKGC with Regard to UK-Facing Gambling Operators and Their Work with Hackers

Over the past several weeks, Casino News Daily has produced a series of publications regarding the alleged work of online gambling operators 888 Holdings and Betway with a notorious hacker, through whose activities the aforementioned operators have been building playerbases for years. After none of the two companies have contacted us with their comments on the matter and have both apparently failed to take due actions, we have decided to inform the UK Gambling Commission about this long-existing issue. Below you can read the full letter we have sent to the regulatory body.

Letter to the members of the UK Gambling Commission, the main gambling regulatory body of the United Kingdom:

Dear Commission members,

As a gambling news outlet, Casino News Daily would like to draw your attention to what we believe has been serious and long-existing issue within the online gambling space. We believe, and we can provide the necessary supporting material to our claim, that several of your licensees may be working or at least may be failing to prevent cybercriminals from participating in our industry as iGaming affiliates. With this letter we aim to introduce you to the matter and to request that proper action is taken against ongoing violation of your main principles and rules.

Established under the Gambling Act 2005, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) was vested with the power to monitor and regulate the provision of gambling services within the United Kingdom’s borders. For over a decade now, the regulator has been implementing rules and principles that should serve as the building blocks of a profitable and socially responsible industry.

The UKGC has reiterated and showed on multiple occasions that tolerating violations of its principles was not on its agenda. The most recent and highly publicized such instance was the £7.8-million fine the regulator imposed on Gibraltar-based gambling operator 888 Holdings.

The company, which is a major player in UK’s growing online gambling industry, was fined for failing to prevent customers who had self-excluded themselves from its casino, poker, and sports betting platform from playing for real money on its bingo platform. While the operator’s failure to secure a safe and socially responsible gambling environment for its customers is a serious violation of the UK’s gambling regulations, we would like to point out that 888 as well as another well-recognized iGaming brand – Betway – have been, voluntarily or involuntarily, violating UK gambling rules as well as international laws for several years now and that they have not been prevented in any way possible from doing so.

Casino News Daily has produced several articles, links to which will be provided at the end of this letter, centered around the affiliate marketing activities of both operators and the fact that these activities may not always be compliant with rules and laws.

It has been for several years now that a notorious hacker has been targeting and attacking websites of different nature to build traffic and improve the ranking of their own website/s. Said hacker has been promoting different online gambling operators and has been referring players to the websites of those online gambling operators. Here it is important to note that Betway and 888 have been among the brands most heavily promoted by the hacker who apparently also acts as an iGaming affiliate.

As mentioned above, both 888 and Betway are operators well-recognized not only among UK-based players but also among players from a number of other jurisdictions. Most importantly, 888 and Betway are both licensed by the UKGC and are supposed to be in full and utter compliance with the Commission’s rules and principles, those same principles set out in the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice.

Keeping crime out of gambling has been one of the fundamental principles the UKGC has been requiring compliance with from every single of its licensees. Somehow both 888 and Betway (and probably other iGaming operators holding licenses from the UKGC) have been left to acquire customers through acts of crime, or acts of cybercrime to be more precise. Aside from building a playerbase from traffic sent by a criminal, the two operators have also funded that same criminal by paying them for referring players as an iGaming affiliate.

As a news outlet and an active participant in the online gambling industry, we would like to encourage the UKGC to acquaint itself with our articles on the topic and to give due consideration to the matter in all its seriousness. We would also like to ask why operators that have obviously been violating rules set out by the Commission, have not been warned against their marketing activities and have been left to work, knowingly or unknowingly, with a cybercriminal, to profit from the hacker’s illegal activities, and to fund the hacker’s illegal activities by rewarding them for referring players.

And while we do not know and cannot know what the hacker uses these funds for, it has been common knowledge that cybercrime may often be related to and used for funding larger scale acts of crime.

We believe that the matter deserves due attention and we hope that it will be paid that attention now as we have informed the UKGC about the apparent and ongoing wrongdoings within what is supposed to be a heavily regulated online gambling space. We would also like to point out that it is not our purpose to question the effectiveness of the UKGC as a regulatory body or to blemish its reputation as well as the reputation of its licensees. We only want, as an entity that aims to inform and participate in the industry in the most responsible manner, to draw attention to a long-existing and obviously neglected issue.

We would appreciate comments from the UKGC and we would also like inform our reader and Commission members that we will continue urging proper actions on the matter until such actions are taken eventually.

Here are links to our articles on the topic in order of publication:

Should Gambling Operators Repeatedly Violating Rules and Principles Be Allowed the Privilege of Holding UKGC Licenses?

Gambling Operators Betway and 888 Work with Hackers for Years to Grow Their Playerbase

Betway Head of PR Alan Alger Talks Responsible Gambling while His Company Acquires Players through Notorious Hacker

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