UK Gambling Regulator Hits Betway With £400,000 Fine for Branded Marketing to Children

  • Logos with backlinks to Betway’s gambling site appeared on a West Ham children’s webpage
  • Marketing campaigns breached rules that gambling advertising “must be socially responsible”
  • The UKGC warned other operators they should “take responsibility” to avoid breaking rules
  • The regulator is continuing its fine streak after hitting Entain with £17m ($20.6m) penalty
West Ham shirt
The UKGC revealed how closely it’s monitoring the industry after it hit Betway with a big fine for two micro failures that exposed children to its gambling website. [Image:]

Regulator on the alert

While Liz Truss’s government has allowed the UK’s white paper on gambling reform to slip to the bottom of its in tray, the national gambling regulator isn’t allowing any of its licensees to take advantage of the status quo.

Betway Limited will pay a £408,915 ($463,656) fine

On Tuesday, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced that iGaming firm Betway Limited will pay a £408,915 ($463,656) fine for allowing a branded link to appear on the children’s pages of an English Premier League (EPL) website.

The UKGC shared its judgement and the penalty via Twitter:

The offending logo appeared on London soccer franchise West Ham United’s children’s webpage “Young Hammers at Home” between April 14, 2020 and November 6, 2021.

A logo with backlinks to the London-based operator’s gambling site was also displayed on a West Ham webpage that offered children a chance to print out a teddy bear to color.

Operators warned

According to an official UKGC news release, both of Betway’s marketing campaigns breached rules that stipulate gambling advertising “must be socially responsible.”

In the release, UKGC director of enforcement Leanne Oxley stated: “Protecting children from gambling harm is at the heart of what we do.”

“no suggestion” Betway intentionally targeted children

Oxley conceded there was “no suggestion” Betway intentionally targeted children, or that any minors had actually gambled. Regardless, she said, the UKGC takes “the breach of any rules aimed at protecting children extremely seriously.”

The enforcement director also warned other operators to “learn from this case.”

Oxley added that while the “remedial actions” were since undertaken by Betway, other operators should ensure they “take responsibility” to avoid breaking rules. She said the operators should have the “correct processes in place so that websites directed at children do not include advertisements for gambling.”

Busy busting rule-breakers

The announcement of Betway’s hefty fine means the UKGC is continuing a blitz on rule breakers that peaked in August.

The regulator warmed up on August 1 when it hit LeoVegas with a £1.32m ($1.6m) fine for anti-money laundering and social responsibility failings. A week later, it fined Smarkets £630,000. ($714,807).

On August 17, the UKGC outdid itself, fining the Entain Group a record-breaking £17m ($20.6m) for failures by both its online and retail businesses.

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