Swedish authorities have discovered that internet based gambling business RakeTech Group has been using a website containing children related content to refer gamblers to a number of online casinos. What’s more, the company has also used a domain that is very much like that of a well-known children’s organization in Sweden.
Sweden’s Leading Newspaper, Breakit Reports
According to a report in Sweden’s leading newspaper Breakit, the company made unethical use of a domain called barnverket.nu to attract customers with the aim of directing them to gambling sites. The site in question consists of a number of pictures and articles pertaining to children. The problem is that the domain is very similar to the one used by BARNverket which is an organization dedicated to disseminating information about children’s rights with especial emphasis on educational opportunities and social interaction. The organization’s website is barnverket.se, and the difference is too subtle for internet users to distinguish.
While the top of RakeTech’s website has information pertaining to children, the bottom contains a paragraph that mentions the gambling affiliate websites saying that they would link to responsible operators. The affiliate websites contained links to online casinos, as is the common practice in the industry. It is clear to see that RakeTech has made use of a copycat website to attract customers and send them to gambling sites. The website in question has now been taken down.
One of the Founders of RakeTech Comments…
Michael Holmberg, one of the founders of RakeTech, had an explanation for his company’s use of the barnverket.nu website. The barnverket.nu domain belonged to a company that was bought by RakeTech,.and therefore they used it without any ill intention. However, he also admitted that the content of the website did not match the RakeTech business model and therefore its use had been discontinued. He went on to say that the company would avoid using any websites that had controversial content. Holmberg also said that his company was willing to sell the barnverket.nu domain to the childrens’ rights organization that would be able to use it properly.
RakeTech was started in 2010 in Malta. It was originally a poker affiliate company focused on the Scandinavian market. The company then expanded its operations to promote online casinos and sportsbooks. It has now grown to become one of the largest affiliate networks for the online gambling industry by the tried and tested method of acquiring a number of existing affiliate websites.
There have been other instances of iGaming affiliate organizations following improper practises for marketing. Just a day prior to the RakeTech issue, the Netherlands Gaming Authority rapped another affiliate company for not following local regulations. The company in question, Catena Media, is also based in Malta but it targets players in the Netherlands. The Dutch gambling regulator issued it a cease and desist order along with a warning that heavy fines would follow unless it obeyed the laws of the land. Catena Media, also from Scandinavia, has expanded its network in Europe by buying up other iGaming affiliate networks. Both Catena Media and RakeTech have an important role in the online gambling industry in Europe.
Problem Gambling – A Major Issue
Problem gaming is indeed a major issue in the online gambling industry because of the ease with which people can access internet based casinos. It is becoming very common for underage people to play at these sites, and they gamble away money that they cannot afford. For instance, gambling regulators are therefore always on the lookout for any infringements of their rules so that these can be stopped without any delay. Having a good regulator is key to ensuring that a jurisdiction’s online gambling industry grows well with maximum benefit to all parties concerned.