Marketing Agencies Recruiting Students to Promote Online Betting Apps

  • Kwiff and BetBull apps being promoted by college students in the UK
  • Both companies deny knowing about the promotion of their betting apps on campuses
  • Student promoters reportedly earn commission for getting other students to sign up and bet
students-walking-in-university-hall
Marketing agencies have been criticized for enlisting students to promote betting apps on campus in the UK. [Image: Shutterstock]

Students promoting betting apps

Universities in the United Kingdom are becoming hunting grounds for marketing agencies working for betting companies.

Students are being enlisted to promote betting apps on campus in return for commission. They are encouraging fellow students to sign up and wager using the apps by passing out free money.

The University of Manchester is one example of a campus that has reportedly been subject to the recruitment process.

Targeting impressionable students

According to an investigation by the Observer, marketing agencies that state they are employed by betting companies are approaching students to become promoters of gambling apps.

For instance, students at the University of Manchester are being targeted by such agencies to encourage fellow students to use ‘free bets’ offered via gambling apps. The students are providing £5 notes on campus to Kwiff and BetBull for betting online.

The recruitment process of the marketing agencies has been heavily criticized. The National Union of Students have spoken out against the tactics, calling them ‘‘deplorable.’’ The producers of the gambling apps deny they are involved or know of the scheme taking place at UK universities.

Kwiff stated they were unaware of marketing affiliates that claim to work for them promoting their app on campuses. The company stated this is not a marketing method they encourage or support.

BetBull also commented, stating that a flyer with their logo being passed out at universities was not authorized:

Nobody at BetBull was aware of, or sanctioned, its production or distribution.”

BetBull continued: ‘‘BetBull does not tolerate or condone this practice. We take our marketing compliance obligations extremely seriously and ensure that our marketing affiliates are fully and regularly trained on these compliance requirements. We take all available measures to prevent misuse of our branding and have launched a full investigation into this matter.”

Student input

Students who register to promote these bettings apps supposedly earn as much as £12 for each registration. Face-to-face marketing efforts are being made by students as well as link sharing via social media sites.

It has yet to be determined if the marketing agencies are encouraging the college students to pass out incentives, or if the students are choosing to do so themselves. According to one promoter of the applications, they are given little guidance once accepting the job. The goal is to get people to download the betting applications and place a wager.

Marketing agencies have been criticized by Gamban co-founder, Matt Zarb-Cousin, for involving young people, particularly due to their vulnerability.

Gamban software is a product that blocks access to gambling applications and websites. The software assists by allowing players to block access to online gambling, helping with addiction issues.

Mr. Zarb-Cousin weighed in on the revelation from the investigation stating that the behavior by operators is ‘‘unscrupulous.’’ He also expressed his belief that, ‘‘the younger one starts gambling, the more likely an addiction will form.’’

Therefore, Mr. Zarb-Cousin stated that students are more vulnerable because attending a university is the first time they will have access to credit, overdrafts and loans, plus time on their hands.