IOC investigating spamming in the industry

spintee

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By whom?

I certainly used to receive loads of mailers that fit this description of how things work (with CR related servers appearing to have been used for the sending). Things do seem different now, and I have been assured that this operating model isn't true. They were welcome offers for the various CR properties, and I got them regardless of whether or not I already had an account there.

The normal model (which IS the true one according to CR), is that the program provides creative for affiliates to use, but affiliates have to compile their own mailing lists and do so according to the local regulations in the markets they target

From my experience all programs or most have creatives to use, This is why I was surprised as why would a program state things such as mailers list or a mass mailer,

Over the weekend I am going to log in to my affiliate email account, I gave up a while ago and put things on hold so its been a while, Hopeful I still have that email which i will pass on to you,

I will not mention no names as yet in case I have got it wrong but the with the names whats bought up than your on the right track, This was including buying into snailmail,
 

vinylweatherman

You type well loads
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Location
United Kingdom
From my experience all programs or most have creatives to use, This is why I was surprised as why would a program state things such as mailers list or a mass mailer,

Over the weekend I am going to log in to my affiliate email account, I gave up a while ago and put things on hold so its been a while, Hopeful I still have that email which i will pass on to you,

I will not mention no names as yet in case I have got it wrong but the with the names whats bought up than your on the right track, This was including buying into snailmail,

If this was some time ago, it may have been done in innocence because the industry was primarily aimed at the US market, and they used a "can spam act" whereby it was permitted to send emails to anyone unless they opted out, and so this act simply said that provided there was an unsubscribe facility, it wasn't considered spam.

The UK and EU however use a tighter definition, and an opt-in system that means unless someone has opted in to receiving mailers or texts, it is considered spam. Curiously though, this contradicts how the telephone legislation works for "cold calls", which makes it OK to cold call numbers unless the subscriber has registered with the TPS, and this makes it an opt-out system. The TPS also covers mobile numbers, so it may be that the ICO have overstepped their powers by claiming that sending SMS to people who have not opted in is illegal. Since this can be achieved by bulk sending to automatically generated numbers without knowing who is behind them, it is not necessarily the case that the act of sending SMS involves the processing of personal data, which is where the ICO has it's main powers - it can fine companies for processing personal data outside of the bounds of legislation, including failure to register with the ICO.

For snail mail, there is a postal preference service, but there is no power to prevent companies from sending marketing through the post, and nothing much anyone can do to stop it provided it complies with advertising and consumer protection law. Some consumers fight back by bombarding the sender back via the prepaid envelope often included, but not with an order, they fill the envelope with the junk mail and whatever else will fit into it so that the sender has to pay for "duff leads" in the hope that by hitting them in the pocket they will stop sending to the address.

It is probably the use of SMS that the ICO are going after, rather than email. SMS differs in that there can be a cost to the recipient to receive the unwanted texts, and they are more intrusive than email because SMS doesn't have a "spam folder" and "spam filters" (unless you install a third party app). Phone calls are even worse than SMS, because you can't wait and answer the call after you have finished dinner for example, and often no message is left, but they just keep on calling back. This is why some players don't like giving their phone numbers to casinos, or give false ones just to get past the form element but knowing they won't get bombarded by phone calls from the casino trying to drum up deposits. Some casinos HAVE misused players' phones for this purpose, so it's not a groundless fear.

This letter serves as a scare tactic, but also a way for the ICO to trawl for information from the affiliates it has sent it to as to what they actually do, and to what extent this involves the DPA.

The ICO may well be sending such letters to affiliates from other programs in due course, ones they have identified as being of concern.

I rather suspect CR affiliates will be "of concern" because it has been a long standing gripe among players that SO much CR related spam is sent out compared to other respectable operations. There was also the issue of the fake testimonials, such as the McDonalds workers who scoop the jackpot and make such a scene about quitting their job that it gets media coverage (faked of course). If UK mailboxes and phones get bombarded with these fake testimonial marketing shots, I expect the ICO will be going after those affiliates, but will probably have to resort to a "fishing expedition" and scary letter to all as they did with Income Access.
 

spintee

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webby
mm2
Joined
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Location
Northants
Well thats gone up in smoke,

Just been on the phone for just short of an hour to 1&1 the bunch of cowboys, Telling me my emails are no longer? When I witched a package I didnt tag a long emails, She said there must of been some miscommunication, I said not on my bloody part, I know exact what was said,

Any way all are lost, Not on the server, She managed to set up the same email for me, How can they not save my shit??


I requested a call and 20 seconds the phone rings with private number, Real quiet lady with no noise in the back ground, Sounded like she was in an empty room on her own, She seemed to know the score as she set that up for me,

In any case all has been lost, Lucky I kept back up of sites and passwords

If this was some time ago, it may have been done in innocence because the industry was primarily aimed at the US market, and they used a "can spam act" whereby it was permitted to send emails to anyone unless they opted out, and so this act simply said that provided there was an unsubscribe facility, it wasn't considered spam.

The UK and EU however use a tighter definition, and an opt-in system that means unless someone has opted in to receiving mailers or texts, it is considered spam. Curiously though, this contradicts how the telephone legislation works for "cold calls", which makes it OK to cold call numbers unless the subscriber has registered with the TPS, and this makes it an opt-out system. The TPS also covers mobile numbers, so it may be that the ICO have overstepped their powers by claiming that sending SMS to people who have not opted in is illegal. Since this can be achieved by bulk sending to automatically generated numbers without knowing who is behind them, it is not necessarily the case that the act of sending SMS involves the processing of personal data, which is where the ICO has it's main powers - it can fine companies for processing personal data outside of the bounds of legislation, including failure to register with the ICO.

For snail mail, there is a postal preference service, but there is no power to prevent companies from sending marketing through the post, and nothing much anyone can do to stop it provided it complies with advertising and consumer protection law. Some consumers fight back by bombarding the sender back via the prepaid envelope often included, but not with an order, they fill the envelope with the junk mail and whatever else will fit into it so that the sender has to pay for "duff leads" in the hope that by hitting them in the pocket they will stop sending to the address.

It is probably the use of SMS that the ICO are going after, rather than email. SMS differs in that there can be a cost to the recipient to receive the unwanted texts, and they are more intrusive than email because SMS doesn't have a "spam folder" and "spam filters" (unless you install a third party app). Phone calls are even worse than SMS, because you can't wait and answer the call after you have finished dinner for example, and often no message is left, but they just keep on calling back. This is why some players don't like giving their phone numbers to casinos, or give false ones just to get past the form element but knowing they won't get bombarded by phone calls from the casino trying to drum up deposits. Some casinos HAVE misused players' phones for this purpose, so it's not a groundless fear.

This letter serves as a scare tactic, but also a way for the ICO to trawl for information from the affiliates it has sent it to as to what they actually do, and to what extent this involves the DPA.

The ICO may well be sending such letters to affiliates from other programs in due course, ones they have identified as being of concern.

I rather suspect CR affiliates will be "of concern" because it has been a long standing gripe among players that SO much CR related spam is sent out compared to other respectable operations. There was also the issue of the fake testimonials, such as the McDonalds workers who scoop the jackpot and make such a scene about quitting their job that it gets media coverage (faked of course). If UK mailboxes and phones get bombarded with these fake testimonial marketing shots, I expect the ICO will be going after those affiliates, but will probably have to resort to a "fishing expedition" and scary letter to all as they did with Income Access.
 

vinylweatherman

You type well loads
Joined
Oct 14, 2004
Location
United Kingdom
Well thats gone up in smoke,

Just been on the phone for just short of an hour to 1&1 the bunch of cowboys, Telling me my emails are no longer? When I witched a package I didnt tag a long emails, She said there must of been some miscommunication, I said not on my bloody part, I know exact what was said,

Any way all are lost, Not on the server, She managed to set up the same email for me, How can they not save my shit??


I requested a call and 20 seconds the phone rings with private number, Real quiet lady with no noise in the back ground, Sounded like she was in an empty room on her own, She seemed to know the score as she set that up for me,

In any case all has been lost, Lucky I kept back up of sites and passwords


Unfortunate, but it's what is happening now that concerns the ICO, not what may have happened in 2005 when the whole industry was still "the wild west". The problem will be that many in the industry helped form an "industry standard" based on this "wild west" of the early days, and some will have failed to adapt suitably to the move to regulation, where the laws of individual countries will govern how they treat players in that country. It also means they can't have a "one size fits all" model because what is perfectly OK in one country will be against the law in another.

The rules being enforced by the ICO have come about due to EU directives and regulations that member countries have been required to implement in national laws. This means that if the ICO has a problem with one "standard industry practice", there is a good chance that the regulators of other EU countries will also have a problem with it.
 

shereelim13

Dormant account
Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Location
UK
I receive multiple newsletters per week from "GambleGeek", "2 Little Fleas" and "Slots 4 Play". I never signed up to any of these newsletters and I am getting constantly spammed with signup offers.
 

Nicola

Closed Account
Joined
Jan 22, 2013
Location
Malta
I receive multiple newsletters per week from "GambleGeek", "2 Little Fleas" and "Slots 4 Play". I never signed up to any of these newsletters and I am getting constantly spammed with signup offers.

Yes '2 Little Fleas' is annoying as they seem to contact me on e-mail addresses that I have only used for signing up to casinos. Clearly someone sells addresses on to affiliates.
 

dunover

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Yes '2 Little Fleas' is annoying as they seem to contact me on e-mail addresses that I have only used for signing up to casinos. Clearly someone sells addresses on to affiliates.

You only just realized that?

This illegal trade and breach of the DPA has been going on for years.
 

ternur

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There is a major change coming with the new GDPR for all companies dealing with European customer base. Unlike the previous data protection legislation, the new legal framework has more teeth (fines up to 20 MEUR / 4% of global annual turnover) and will have an effect how gaming companies handle their customer data.

The new approach in Europe in regards to data protection/privacy sets the burden on operators. There's a built in presumption of guilt in case of data breaches or leaks. The operator is required to prove compliance with the GDPR.

The transition time is already in effect. I'll take a wild guess that many gaming companies are not fully prepared for the change that is on the way. Or simple don't care. Of course the reputable companies take this seriously, but as we all know, the industry is riddled with all kinds of cowboys. :rolleyes:
 

RichyJ75

Has been a very naughty boy ...
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Yes '2 Little Fleas' is annoying as they seem to contact me on e-mail addresses that I have only used for signing up to casinos. Clearly someone sells addresses on to affiliates.

Any of these look familiar as well? These are current ones in my spam folder, all of which I have never contacted. Got loads more flagged in my trash file:

The following email addresses are blocked. Messages from these addresses will appear in Spam:
Team 21 <[email protected]> unblock
Jeff Thompson <[email protected]> unblock
Nikola Nixon <[email protected]> unblock
Sandra Miller <[email protected]> unblock
Kerching <[email protected]> unblock
MrCashing <[email protected]> unblock
Mr Green offer <[email protected]> unblock
Carl at ATTAIN <[email protected]> unblock
Club Gold <[email protected]> unblock
Matchbook <[email protected]> unblock
All British <[email protected]> unblock
[email protected] unblock
Timon Saunders <[email protected]> unblock
Exclusive Offers <[email protected]> unblock
Fine Slots <[email protected]eslots.net> unblock
All British <[email protected]> unblock
Lacey <[email protected]> unblock
Wendy <[email protected]> unblock
Poppy <[email protected]> unblock
Andrew Wright <[email protected]> unblock
Lisa <[email protected]> unblock
Rory <[email protected]> unblock
Kelly <[email protected]> unblock
Mathew <[email protected]> unblock
ATTAIN Digital Marketing <[email protected]> unblock
John O. <[email protected]> unblock
Jeff Thompson <[email protected]> unblock
Sarah Jones <[email protected]> unblock
Sarah Jones <[email protected]> unblock
Jeremy Smith <[email protected]> unblock
Gracie <[email protected]> unblock
Charles Livingstone <[email protected]> unblock
Emma Handerson <[email protected]> unblock
Gambler's Voice <[email protected]> unblock
Michelle Xiao <[email protected]> unblock
Nancy Benn <[email protected]> unblock
Rich Casino <[email protected]> unblock
All British <[email protected]> unblock
Lily Keller <[email protected]> unblock
Banggood.com <[email protected]> unblock
Dennis Winter <[email protected]> unblock
James Hayward <[email protected]> unblock
admin <[email protected]> unblock
David Sorel <[email protected]> unblock
Robert Millers <[email protected]> unblock
Amelie Wylie <[email protected]> unblock
JPot247 <[email protected]> unblock
FavBet <[email protected]> unblock
Paul <[email protected]> unblock
Frank <[email protected]> unblock
Support <[email protected]> unblock
Casino Of Dreams <[email protected]> unblock
Best casino news <[email protected]> unblock
Club Gold <[email protected]> unblock
Netent News - Latest Slots <[email protected]> unblock
Latest Netent News <[email protected]> unblock
Latest Netent News <[email protected]> unblock
Oscar <[email protected]> unblock
Adrian <[email protected]> unblock
Bordeaux Slots and Netent <[email protected]> unblock
Latest Netent News <[email protected]> unblock
Latest Netent News <[email protected]> unblock
Bordeaux Promotion <[email protected]> unblock
Latest Netent News <[email protected]> unblock
Madame <[email protected]> unblock
VIP Affiliates <[email protected]>
 

vinylweatherman

You type well loads
Joined
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Location
United Kingdom
Since I have been put on the spot to produce evidence before drawing conclusions, I have been monitoring my spam in more detail.

Here is another dodgy affiliate practice that could cause grief for operators:-

It's done to make the recipient believe they have been sent the offer as a consequence of already being a player there as this probably makes it more likely that the bait will be taken and a click through and registration will be made that will earn money for the affiliate.

The implication is of course that they have access to this information, which they shouldn't have. A naïve player new to online gambling is going to take this at face value (which is what I did way back in 2005, and this is what helped form my views of how things worked in the industry).

It still leaves the question of how did they REALLY get my email address, and although we can't rule out the rogue employee, it's more likely that they are using the scammers tactic of knowing that some of these mailers will land in the mailboxes of people who genuinely are already players there, and these are the ones they expect to get a little return from.

This should not still be happening, but is happening due to a lack of determination in policing the methods affiliates use to attract custom.

I have received 8 of these since the 11th November, and they are by far the most prolific spammer hitting my email address.

Their business address is given as :-

Beaufort House,
PO BOX 438,
Road Town, Tortola, BVI

They are sending from two different email addresses.

This looks like the work of a "super affiliate" who has deliberately set up in a jurisdiction where they expect to be "untouchable" in terms of being prosecuted by the likes of the ICO for spamming.
 

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maxd

Complaints (PAB) Manager
Staff member
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Saltirelandia
Here is one example of CR related spam that has been deliberately designed to deceive the recipient ....

The casino rep has explained to you in some detail (via PM) how this email is coming from a marketing company and not from them. And they've repeatedly asked that you forward the originals so that they can trace the source. It seems you have not cooperated but prefer to harass them publicly over it. I'd say it's "put up or shut up" time. Kvetching about a problem but doing nothing to resolve it is just pointless bellyaching.
 

Casinomeister

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The casino rep has explained to you in some detail (via PM) how this email is coming from a marketing company and not from them. And they've repeatedly asked that you forward the originals so that they can trace the source. It seems you have not cooperated but prefer to harass them publicly over it. I'd say it's "put up or shut up" time. Kvetching about a problem but doing nothing to resolve it is just pointless bellyaching.

What he said.

Yes '2 Little Fleas' is annoying as they seem to contact me on e-mail addresses that I have only used for signing up to casinos. Clearly someone sells addresses on to affiliates.

Please be aware that there have been instances in the past where a database has been stolen. No operator in his or hers right mind would sell their database - unless it's some rogue operation operating out of cowboy-town.

Many operators seed their player database so that they can detect this. But if it's an inside job, there is a good chance that they will never know.

What gets me is why the spam? I thought spamming was a marketing ploy of the 90's early 2000's. It's not much of a nuisance if you have a spam filter - like most people have. Yeah, I know - it's the principle of the thing, but I use spamarrest.com for two ancient email addresses - one I've had for 20 years - and I just don't have a spam problem.
 

vinylweatherman

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Joined
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Location
United Kingdom
The casino rep has explained to you in some detail (via PM) how this email is coming from a marketing company and not from them. And they've repeatedly asked that you forward the originals so that they can trace the source. It seems you have not cooperated but prefer to harass them publicly over it. I'd say it's "put up or shut up" time. Kvetching about a problem but doing nothing to resolve it is just pointless bellyaching.

I had not been told to forward anything at the time of posting, I had an explanation that marketing companies could send such material, but had to use their own lists, and there was no way to get any data from CR. It is STILL misleading to explain that I am getting the emails due to being a CR member, as this isn't something they can possibly know, but it does give the impression to the recipient that they have access to the player emails from CR in order to send only to CR members. Other programs have told affiliates that they must use the creatives "as-is" when targeting the UK market, and not add potentially misleading statements or alter them in any way. They are clearly trying to mitigate against the risk of an affiliate altering the material or adding anything that could cause the UK regulators to rule the marketing to be in breach of the rules.

The bottom line is that they are getting paid for the traffic they generate from such methods, and this is what fuels the spamming industry. There would be no point in such spamming if they were not able to make any money from it.


This issue of CR spam has been going on for YEARS, and nothing much has been done about it despite numerous threads here on the subject.

Funny how an investigation by the ICO has operators failing over themselves to finally nail the problem.

Although there are many other offenders, CR has been one of the most prolific beneficiaries of spam marketing, so they are one of the key targets to go after in trying to clean up the spam problem.


Despite spam filters, spam has caused a SEVERE problem for me because in the arms race between spammer and filter my ISP went too far and ended up blocking legitimate emails at source with the user having absolutely no control over the issue, and I was unable to effect the transfer of money to my PayPal account because key verification emails were getting blocked. The ISP won't budge on the issue, saying it's up to senders to properly set up and register their email servers according to their standards.

I am STILL failing to get some emails, including critical ones, and I can only resolve the situation when I know to expect such an email, and can then query its non receipt.

I am probably not seeing the true extent of the problem, and these 8 CR spams in 4 days are probably the result of the next step in the arms race, finding away past Virgin Media's new and draconian filter.


If it seems that I am focussing on CR and letting the others off, this is not so, it's because CR affiliates have been the ONLY spammers to hit my mailbox since I began this examination. The rest are probably getting killed at source by the ISP filters, and it's impossible to see them.

Before I began, I have received the occasional spam for operators like Lucky247, Casumo.

Today is a little different. 1xCR 1xPlaymillion 1xlottoland
 

maxd

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I had not been told to forward anything at the time of posting...

In which case you haven't been reading your messages properly because I've been CC'd on at least 2 where they explicitly requested you do so. They can't help you if you don't help them, regardless of the dark forces you might imagine are responsible.
 

dunover

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In which case you haven't been reading your messages properly because I've been CC'd on at least 2 where they explicitly requested you do so. They can't help you if you don't help them, regardless of the dark forces you might imagine are responsible.

With respect I did this via the CR rep and though it did eventually cull the CR crap (I haven't had ONE since!) it goes to show that whether it's an indirect marketing company operating on CR's behalf or direct CR spam itself, the fact is that in BOTH cases CR can stop it. Therefore CR must be complicit in some way as to what's going on here.

The bottom line is that nobody should be subject to this level of spam whichever the source, direct or not and in my case it HAD to be CR who supplied my e-mail to its 'marketing' company.

The premise seems to be get deluged with spam until you kick-up enough fuss, otherwise put up and shut up.

Vinyl, if you DO speak with the rep (yes, you shouldn't have to jump through these hoops because there is no effective or heeded 'unsubscribe') she will get it stopped for you. I got so pissed-off with it myself that a while back I received my only ever minor infraction here for changing the 'w' in their name to a 't' in one post in temper after snapping one morning so I know how it feels! :mad:
 

maxd

Complaints (PAB) Manager
Staff member
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Location
Saltirelandia
With respect I did this via the CR rep and though it did eventually cull the CR crap ... CR must be complicit in some way as to what's going on here.

Yes, working with the rep to find and stop the marketeer is exactly the point.

Does that make them "complicit"? Hardly!
Someone gives the cops some info and the cops catch the offender. Cops are complicit!
Why not the judges too when they convict the guy? Complicit!
Maybe the prisons? Complicit _and_ harbouring the fugitive!

The rep helping solve a spam problem is a rep helping solve a spam problem. Conspiracy theories not required.
 

dunover

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Yes, working with the rep to find and stop the marketeer is exactly the point.

Does that make them "complicit"? Hardly!
Someone gives the cops some info and the cops catch the offender. Cops are complicit!
Why not the judges too when they convict the guy? Complicit!
Maybe the prisons? Complicit _and_ harbouring the fugitive!

The rep helping solve a spam problem is a rep helping solve a spam problem. Conspiracy theories not required.

They DON'T stop the marketer, that's the point. They simply stop them communicating with YOU!

Not a conspiracy theory at all. Join a CR casino with X e-mail address, then right on cue marketing stuff shortly appears from OTHER CR sites to that X address. The casino joined sends offers directly from themselves (yes fair enough if I joined, not an issue) and the crap from the OTHER CR sites comes via this 'marketing company'. How did the marketing company get my e-mail from the original CR site? I believe that's what Vinyl's getting at as it happened in my case and far too much of a coincidence!

Yes, the CR rep was helpful to me in getting the deluge removed but this was after all attempts by myself via 'unsubscribe' (sometimes blank or faulty links surprise surprise!) which failed, and shouldn't have.

I have often though the same as Vinyl, we need a covert 'e-mail spam sting' whereby we test all the main brands/licensees with unique e-mail addresses that can't be trawled and are ONLY used for that one casino. Some e-mail companies allow 'throwaway' addresses unlimited? so having a complex one say [email protected] and changing 4 of the digits for the next casino and so-on may prove once and for all which groups are complicit in illegally flogging/passing on our details, and to whom.....;)
 

spintee

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They DON'T stop the marketer, that's the point. They simply stop them communicating with YOU!

Not a conspiracy theory at all. Join a CR casino with X e-mail address, then right on cue marketing stuff shortly appears from OTHER CR sites to that X address. The casino joined sends offers directly from themselves (yes fair enough if I joined, not an issue) and the crap from the OTHER CR sites comes via this 'marketing company'. How did the marketing company get my e-mail from the original CR site? I believe that's what Vinyl's getting at as it happened in my case and far too much of a coincidence!

Yes, the CR rep was helpful to me in getting the deluge removed but this was after all attempts by myself via 'unsubscribe' (sometimes blank or faulty links surprise surprise!) which failed, and shouldn't have.

I have often though the same as Vinyl, we need a covert 'e-mail spam sting' whereby we test all the main brands/licensees with unique e-mail addresses that can't be trawled and are ONLY used for that one casino. Some e-mail companies allow 'throwaway' addresses unlimited? so having a complex one say [email protected] and changing 4 of the digits for the next casino and so-on may prove once and for all which groups are complicit in illegally flogging/passing on our details, and to whom.....;)


You can even get a private domain name and a shit load of emails with it for like £5 a year, spamtest.com than emails will be [email protected] and so on, Only spam I received in my bought box was of aflliate spam lol, So even affilate programs pass on to the next
 

Webzcas

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I caught up with Tom Galanis from Tag Media and spoke to him about what affiliates in the iGaming sector should do, should they be in receipt of one of these letters from the ICO. Other areas covered include PERC.

The interview with Tom starts at 1:31 in

 
Last edited by a moderator:

petro

Dormant account, per user request
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Yes, working with the rep to find and stop the marketeer is exactly the point.

Does that make them "complicit"? Hardly!
Someone gives the cops some info and the cops catch the offender. Cops are complicit!
Why not the judges too when they convict the guy? Complicit!
Maybe the prisons? Complicit _and_ harbouring the fugitive!

The rep helping solve a spam problem is a rep helping solve a spam problem. Conspiracy theories not required.


It's really a question of how much control CR have over the situation.
It might be the case that the control CR has over the situation is so small that it renders them more-or-less innocent.
 
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