Hammers’ betting sponsor fined for advertising to kids
WEST HAM’S main sponsors Betway have been fined more than £400,000 for advertising on pages of the club’s website targeted at children. Enquiries by the Gambling Commission uncovered that Betway’s logo, which linked to the bookies’ website, appeared on a section offering a chance to print a picture of a teddy bear for children to colour in. The logo was displayed between April 14, 2020, and November 6, 2021. It was also found on the Young Hammers at Home page between October 24, 2021, and November 15, 2021.
Both adverts breached Gambling Commission rules requiring that all advertising must be socially responsible. The Commission’s regulations also state that responsibility for where logos appear lies with betting companies, such as Betway, resulting in them receiving the £408,915 fine rather than West Ham.
A West Ham spokesperson said: ‘The Betway logo appeared on a web page on the West Ham United website containing content that was targeted at Under 18s. Upon identification, it was immediately removed. ‘The club’s new website, launched in March 2022, has robust systems in place to ensure a technical issue like this will not occur again.’ Betway’s sanction will provide further ammunition for those calling for a total ban on betting-related sponsorship in football. However, eight Premier League clubs have betting companies as sponsors on the their shirts, training kit or areas of their grounds.
James Grimes, who fronts the Big Step campaign striving to rid football of gambling advertising, said: ‘This shows again that the Government must end all gambling sponsorship in football. By continuing to promote gambling, clubs are risking the health and lives of young fans.’