The Gambling Commission has announced that online gambling business Betway Limited will pay a £408,915 penalty for marketing on the children’s pages of West Ham United Football Club’s website.
A Commission investigation 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 website featured on the ‘Young Hammers at Home’ webpage between 24 October 2021 and 15 November 2021.
The Commission found that Betway Limited failed to comply with paragraphs 1 and 2 of rule 5.1.6 of the Social Responsibility Code (SRCP) about compliance with advertising codes. This requires that all marketing of gambling products and services must be undertaken in a socially responsible manner.
In particular, gambling operators must comply with the CAP and BCAP Codes as relevant. For media not explicitly covered, licensees should have regard to the principles included in these codes of practice as if they were explicitly covered.
The failure to comply with a SRCP is a breach of a licence condition under section 82(1) of the Gambling Act 2005.
The Commission has pointed out that Betway had taken remedial action and co-operated with the Commission throughout the investigation and the fine was set accordingly.
It does not appear that West Ham had to pay a penalty as they are not a gambling licence holder. Both gambling operators and website owners should ensure that their marketing and use of logos complies with the relevant gambling and advertising codes.
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