Online casino accused of targeting Australians with Facebook ads

Gambling ads are under scrutiny in Australia.
Gambling ads are under scrutiny in Australia.

Ads for an online casino based in Curaçao were displayed to Australian residents, even after the casino operator received a warning to stop operating in the country.

Australia.- An online casino based in Curaçao has been accused of targeting Australian residents through Facebook ads, despite receiving a formal warning to stop operating in Australia. 

The ads were reportedly still displayed on Facebook although they violated Australian gambling law. However, Facebook claims that the advertiser is an authorised gambling partner, and was authorised under its policy.

Under Facebook’s gambling advertising policy, advertisers must provide evidence that the advertised services are appropriately licensed by a regulatory body or are legal in the country markets they are targeting. However, the social media platform does not require each advert to be reviewed and approved individually. Ads are often not reviewed by humans.

The news comes amid a debate about gambling advertising in different parts of Australia. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government is proposing restrictions and possibly a complete ban on sports betting advertisements due to concerns about their negative impact. 

Meanwhile, an AFL Fan Association survey has found that 79 per cent of fans believed gambling ads should be banned from AFL grounds while 76 per cent agreed that gambling ads should be banned from broadcasting (including TV and radio).

Last year, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) called for more power to restrict unlicensed gambling advertisements on Facebook, YouTube and Google to better protect children and vulnerable Australians. The publication of gambling advertising in Australia is restricted by various federal and state laws. 

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