The gambling industry in Canada is facing challenges with the rise of fraudulent advertisements, particularly on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Recent incidents in Manitoba, Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have highlighted the issue of phishing scams involving the use of casino operators’ logos and photos of buildings and even staff.
Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries (MBLL), the Crown Corporation responsible for gambling in Manitoba, has recently issued warnings about these scans. Fraudulent posts advertising an online gaming app for Club Regent Casino and McPhillips Station in Winnipeg have been circulating on Facebook. However, neither casino offers any mobile app or online gaming options.
A spokesperson from MBLL advised the public not to click on links in these ads or provide personal or credit card information.
“Please be aware this is a scam. We have been diligent in reporting these ads to Facebook (Meta) and posting warnings, but these ads continue to circulate. We encourage Manitobans who encounter the fraudulent posts to also block and report,” said an MBLL statement.
Despite MBLL’s efforts to report these ads to Facebook’s parent company, Meta, and issue warnings on social media and their website, fraudulent advertisements continue to appear.
This issue is not isolated to Manitoba. In Gatineau, Québec, similar fraudulent ads have been promoting a non-existent “Lac-Leamy” app, offering a 300% welcome bonus.
“This is a fraudulent publication,” said Renaud Dugas, spokesperson for Loto-Québec, to Le Droit (in French). Efforts have been made to shut down several pages using the Casino’s image, but the problem persists.
In another instance, Great Canadian Entertainment (GCE), operator of Casino New Brunswick and Casino Nova Scotia, alerted the public about Instagram and Facebook scam attempts in November. These scams advertised false casino promotions, using unauthorized photos of employees and properties to appear legitimate. GCE emphasized that they would never contact players for personal or financial information or require a fee for participation in promotional events.
A month later, the operator was the subject of two similar scams for its Casino Woodbine location and Element Casino Surrey locations. GCE’s scam alerts page highlighted “a counterfeit initiative [that] exploits our casino’s name and logo and falsely promises exclusive sign-up bonuses and free spins to individuals who download an alleged Casino Woodbine/Elements Casino Surrey app. This is a phishing attempt targeting our community, and we urge caution.”