A report from the Queen Mary University in London has found that regulations to enforce advertising for online gambling is insufficient.
Due to the use of cryptocurrency and digital wallets, regulators are finding it difficult to control payments since the facilitators operate outside of their jurisdiction. Despite the majority of EU and EEA member states having measures in place to block payments to unlicensed gambling platforms, only 30 percent have implemented a system of legal prevention.
The findings revealed that while 63 percent of adverts are removed, only 21 percent of regulators have the ability to keep the illegal advertisements permanently offline.
The research was funded by the EU commission and revealed a lack of motivation or desire from social media companies to remove or block user-generated advertisements pertaining to commercial gambling.
Another aspect that the study discovered was a huge discrepancy in the fines that were issued to violators. While some regulators imposed strict fines as high as 1 million euros, others were as small as 100 euros. 39 percent of regulators were found to have imposed no fines at all.
Problems Preventing Enforcement
The main issue the findings found was with social media operators. Due to the fact that advertisements made via Facebook and Twitter posts are not specifically flagged as advertisements, its difficult to pinpoint them.
“User-generated content on social media also adds to the difficulty since it is effectively a form of illegal advertising but often not recognized as such. Current regulations are not fit for purpose,” explains Julia Hornle, Professor of Internet Law at Queen Mary University.
Digital cryptocurrency wallets enable users to perform transactions from any country without being restricted by local laws. Since digital currencies are not tied to any specific country, legislation has no power to control them. The report calls for international co-operation from the EU to curb the abuses but has found that opportunities to apply such measures haven’t been fully investigated.