K gambling companies in the UK would be offering services over WhatsApp messaging app in a violation of its own terms and conditions, which states that “businesses may not transact in or facilitate gambling, games of skill, or lotteries, including online casinos, sports books, bingo, or poker if it costs money,” The Telegraph reports.
According to the prestigious UK newspaper, dozens of British operators that advertise their services on Google allow customers to place wagers over WhatsApp in minutes, after setting up an account.
Duncan Garvie, trustee of BetBlocker, the UK charity behind responsible gambling software of the same name, said he feared operators were using the app to skirt around exclusion schemes set up to help addicts.
The UK offers a number of self-exclusion schemes that allow gambling addicts to provide their details so they can be turned away by bookmakers, but WhatsApp could be running as an exclusionary grey area.
GamStop is a recent scheme for online gamblers that flags someone who has requested to be blocked in a database when they try to place bets. The UK Gambling Commission said that “all our remote operators must be signed up to GamStop and ensure consumers are legally old enough to gamble”. Nevertheless, confusion over whether WhatsApp is an internet or phone service has made it unclear to determine which exclusion scheme it should belong to.
One of the sites promoting WhatsApp gambling seen by The Telegraph is McCartan Bet. It warned on its website that it was not signed up to GameStop and that customers should email them if they wanted McCartan to refuse them bets.
A WhatsApp spokesman told the newspaper: “While WhatsApp offers a way for people to message one another, we do not offer our additional business services to bookmakers. We provide people with easy ways to block any user and encourage users to report problematic accounts to WhatsApp.”