Heavy Fine Of £408k For Marketing On Children’s Pages Of West Ham

Heavy Fine Of £408k For Marketing On Children’s Pages Of West Ham

By Lucy Caulkett-

Online gambling business Betway Limited have been fined a heavy £408,915 penalty for marketing on the children’s pages of West Ham United Football Club’s website.

Commission enquiries revealed that between 14 April 2020 and 6 November 2021 the operator’s gambling logo, which linked to its website, was displayed on a webpage offering the opportunity to print a teddy bear for children to colour in.

Enquiries also revealed a logo with a link to the operator’s webpage featured on the ‘Young Hammers at Home’ webpage between 24 October 2021 and 15 November 2021.

Both advertisements breached Commission rules stating gambling advertising must be socially responsible.

The fine levied against Betway adds to campaigners’ concern over the extent to which gambling imagery has saturated football since the liberalisation of gambling laws in 2005.

Betway’s logo, which linked to its website, was displayed on a West Ham United webpage offering the opportunity to print a teddy bear for children to colour in.

Inquiries also revealed a logo, also linking to Betway’s website, featured on the Young Hammers at Home webpage between 24 October and 15 November 2021.

James Grimes leads the Big Step campaign to kick gambling advertising in football, part of the charity Gambling with Lives.

He said: “Promoting gambling on children’s pages of club websites is at best extremely callous and at worst an attempt to hook in the next generation of gamblers

“We welcome the Gambling Commission taking action but such a small fine when compared to Betway’s giant profits will not act as a deterrent.

“Until they are at genuine risk of having their licences revoked gambling companies will just see fines as a cost of business and carry on.

This shows again that the government must step in end all gambling sponsorship in football – by continuing to promote gambling, clubs are risking the health and lives of their young fans.”

Leanne Oxley, the Gambling Commission’s director of enforcement, said: “Protecting children from gambling harm is at the heart of what we do.

“Although there is no suggestion that the operator was deliberately targeting children, or that children had been allowed to gamble, we take the breach of any rules aimed at protecting children extremely seriously.

“We note the remedial actions since taken by licensee but advise all operators to learn from this case and ensure that they take responsibility and have the correct processes in place so that websites directed at children do not include advertisements for gambling.”

A spokesperson for Betway said: “As a responsible, licensed operator, Betway has zero tolerance with marketing to under-18s. As one of the first betting operators to remove our branding from under-18s’ kit and supporter merchandise, we feel very strongly about our responsibility in this area.

“On this occasion, the Betway logo – owing to a technical error – appeared on a restricted section of the West Ham United website. As soon as we were made aware of this error, we took immediate action to get it removed.

“Nonetheless, we accept the fine and will continue to work closely with the club to ensure this does not happen again.”

Leanne Oxley, Gambling Commission Director of Enforcement, said: “Protecting children from gambling harm is at the heart of what we do.

“Although there is no suggestion that the operator was deliberately targeting children, or that children had been allowed to gamble, we take the breach of any rules aimed at protecting children extremely seriously.

“We note the remedial actions since taken by licensee but advise all operators to learn from this case and ensure that they take responsibility and have the correct processes in place so that websites directed at children do not include advertisements for gambling.”

 

Spread the news

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.