Social responsibility failure

UKGC fines Betway $400,000+ for marketing on children's pages

2022-09-21
Reading time 1:25 min

The UK Gambling Commission is mandating online sports betting and gaming brand Betway to pay £408,915 ($463,151) in fines after an investigation revealed that the brand was marketing on the children's pages of West Ham United Football Club’s website.

Commission inquiries revealed that between April 14, 2020, and November 6, 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 color in.

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

According to a statement released by the Commission, both advertisements breached the regulator's rules stating gambling advertising must be socially responsible.

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 the 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," Oxley concluded.

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

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