US technology giant Meta removed some Facebook pages associated with a social gaming start-up company that used to operate under the mask of tipsters after the operator was found to have violated the social network’s policies regarding online gambling. The revelations of the wrongdoings buoyed after an investigation carried out by The Australian Financial Review.
Two of the pages owned by the founders of the social gaming start-up Dabble – “Roughie Kings 2022” and “The Shark” – were officially removed by Meta because they were found to have promoted online gambling and gaming, which violated the policies of the social media.
According to reports, both pages targetted users with promotional private messages generated by the Artificial Intelligence chatbots of Facebook masked as actual humans. Their objective was to attract more customers to sign up to Dabble and other gambling operators by promising free tips as well as taking up to 30% of the losses.
A spokesperson for the technology giant explained that the company had already removed the pages violating the aforementioned policies and reminded that all advertisers that promote online gambling or gaming services need to follow the local applicable laws, not to mention they needed special authorization from Meta before they started advertising such services.
Social Gambling Start-Up Dabble Has Offered Tipster Pages on Facebook, Reports Say
Lately, Dabble, which is created as a social betting application, marked exponential growth. In September 2022, the largest gambling operator in Australia, Tabcorp, purchased a 20% stake in the start-up, which is especially aimed at the younger generation of gamblers who are willing to share tips with friends on groups chats on WhatsApp and Twitter, for about AU$33 million.
According to data provided by Dabble itself, the company has a customer base of more than 150,000 users. What is really interesting, however, is the link between the start-up and LRI Group – a company that operates Facebook pages and chatbots – because both companies turn out to be co-founded by the same people – David Robin and Jonathan Robin.
After some media revelations, a Dabble spokesperson issued a statement trying to dissociate the start-up and LRI Group and claiming that the two co-founders are not involved in the day-to-day executions of campaigns. However, the findings of the investigation held by The Australian Financial Review suggest otherwise, because both companies were established in violation of NSW gambling laws. Despite the legislation breach, the state’s gambling regulatory body – the NSW Office of Liquor and Gaming – only warned the companies for offering special enticements to their customers while trying to lure them into signing up with their gambling services.
The Australian Financial Review unveiled that the operating model used by Dabble and LRI Media came as an example of how gambling companies intend to use Facebook adverts, videos and chatbots to generate new leads and attract new customers. The results of its investigation also raised questions regarding the actual number of such pages that actually remain operational.
Reports claim that a number of other pages, such as “Free AFL Tips”, “King of the Roughies”, and “Henry’s NBA Tips”, which owners remain unidentified for the time being, also purchased Facebook ads promising free tips to their customers.