UK Fines Sportsbook $450K Over Advertising

The Gambling Commission on Sept. 21 announced a penalty against a major sportsbook.

Online gambling business Betway Limited will pay a £408,915 ($445,000) penalty for marketing on the children’s pages of West Ham United Football Club’s website, the Commission said.

An investigation revealed that between April 14, 2020 and November 6, 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 color in.

The investigation also revealed a logo with a link to the operator’s webpage featured on the “Young Hammers at Home” webpage between Oct. 24 2021 and Nov. 15, 2021. Both advertisements breached Commission rules stating gambling advertising must be “socially responsible.”

Leanne Oxley, Gambling Commission Director of Enforcement, said in a statement: “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.”

The British Gambling Commission also found “systemic historical failings” in the way Betway identified and interacted with customers who were at risk of money laundering and problem gambling.

“These failings stemmed from inadequate anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies and processes and senior management oversight,” the regulator said.

Betway cooperated with the investigation and has acknowledged and accepted there were shortcomings, the Commission said. Betway has a agreed a regulatory settlement.

The regulatory settlement consists of: payment of a total of £11.6m consisting of £5.8m payment in lieu of a financial penalty and divestment of £5.8m gained as a result of these findings, agreement to undertake a number of reviews and report the results to the Commission, agreement to the publication of a statement of the facts in relation to this case, and payment of £18,940 towards the Commission’s costs of investigating the case.




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