West Ham’s shirt sponsor Betway are fined £400,000 for advertising with links to gamble on the ‘colouring in’ pages of the club’s website targeted at children with images of club mascots
- West Ham’s gambling sponsor has been fined £400,000 over its advertising
- Betway displayed its logo on the children’s colouring page on West Ham’s site
- Links on that page directed users straight to the company’s betting pages
- Advertisements breached Commission rules and the site has now been updated
West Ham’s gambling sponsor, Betway, has been hit with a £400,000 fine for advertising a direct link to their betting site on a children’s colouring page.
On West Ham’s official website there are pages dedicated to their younger supporters, one of which provides outlines for colouring in, including one to colour in mascot Bubbles the West Ham Bear.
The Gambling Commission ruled that Betway, who were also found in breach of advertising on West Ham’s ‘Young Hammers at Home’ page, broke the rules of ‘advertising being socially responsible’.
One breach lasted for three weeks, but the logo on the colouring-in page remained for more than 18 months.
West Ham’s website has since been altered to remove the direct links to Betway but nonetheless the sponsor has been fined a total of £408,915.
Both advertisements breached Commission rules stating gambling advertising must be socially responsible.
Betway have been fined £400,000 for advertising a direct link to betting on a children’s colouring page (the sponsor’s logo is seen in the website banner but has since been removed)
Bubbles the mascot was depicted on the colouring page, alongside the Betway gambling links
‘As a responsible licensed operator, Betway has zero tolerance with marketing to under-18s,’ Betway said in a statement.
‘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.’
West Ham owners David Sullivan (left) and David Gold (right) struck a sponsorship deal with Betway back in 2015
Two pages on the club’s website aimed at younger fans included links to Betway’s website
Betway and West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan originally struck up their sponsorship deal in 2015.
The betting company has been the club’s main shirt sponsor for the past seven years. West Ham had already removed the sponsor from the shirt of Bubbles the mascot in the London Stadium on matchdays.
Findings into Betway arrive two years after the same commission fined the gambling sponsor a UK record £11.6million for ‘systemic historical failings’ in tackling money laundering and problem gambling.
They failed to carry out effective social responsibility checks with a customer who deposited and lost £187,000 over two days.
Betway says its takes fine seriously and said it was a ‘technical error’ advertising to under-18s
Leanne Oxley, the commission’s enforcement director, said: ‘Protecting children from gambling 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.’
She advised other gambling companies to ‘learn from this case’ and ensure they have ‘the correct processes in place’ to avoid similar mistakes.
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