The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has fined Betway Limited £400,000 for marketing discrepancies, which saw its brand promoted to children.
The Betway brand is reported to have been promoted on the children’s section of West Ham United’s club website.
The penalty notice revealed that between 14 April 2020 and 6 November 2021, a Betway logo (with a link) “was displayed on a webpage offering the opportunity to print a teddy bear for children to colour in”.
A subsequent enquiry 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.
Betway is reported to have failed UKGC rules on advertising compliance, in which “all marketing of gambling products and services must be undertaken in a socially responsible manner.”
The Commission warned that all licensed operators must comply with the advertising codes of practice issued by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) as applicable.
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.”
Betway would issue the following response to the incidents: “As a responsible, licensed operator Betway has zero tolerance with marketing to under 18’s. As one of the first betting operators to remove our branding from under 18’s 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.”