UK gambling operators can’t advertise on Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload reboot

uk-gambling-commission-kim-dotcom-advertising-megauploadTech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom plans to relaunch his Megaupload file-sharing site but UK-licensed online gambling operators better not be caught advertising on it.

The New Zealand-based was shut down in 2012 after Dotcom was indicted by US authorities for allowing US-held copyrighted material to be stored on the site. Dotcom, who continues to fight extradition to the US, recently tweeted that he plans to relaunch the site on Jan. 20, 2017, five years to the day that the original site was shut down.

The new site will reportedly feature encrypted storage and involve Bitcoin technology. Specifics weren’t disclosed, but Dotcom claimed that “Megaupload and Bitcoin had sex. There is a pregnancy and I have a feeling that the baby will be such a joy.”

Before Megaupload was unceremoniously yanked offline, online gambling operators had been among its biggest advertisers. The PartyGaming brand of UK-listed online gambling operator (since acquired by GVC Holdings) spent over $3m advertising on the site between 2009 and 2011, accounting for roughly 1/8 of Megaupload’s total advertising revenue.

GVC better steer clear of Dotcom’s new site, because the UK Gambling Commission just informed its licensees that a new condition of their license requires them to “take responsibility for preventing digital adverts advertising their brand from appearing on websites providing access to unauthorized content.” The new condition will take effect this autumn.

In addition to ensuring that they don’t directly advertise on forbidden sites, UKGC licensees must “take all reasonable steps” to ensure contracted third parties don’t place ads with such sites on the operator’s behalf.

The UKGC acknowledged that the requirement “presents some practical issues when managing complex third party arrangements.” Licensees will be required to include a clause in all third-party contracts that allows the operator to “promptly” terminate any deals if the third parties are found to have placed adverts on forbidden sites.

The UKGC announced the change as part of its review of its license conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) in relation to the prevention of crime associated with gambling, which included consultations with licensees.