UKGC to Investigate Reports of Direct Links to Online Gambling Platforms on 7 EPL and Championship Clubs’ Websites

Daniel Williams

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has revealed it will investigate how seven clubs from the English Premier League (EPL) and the Championship featured direct links to online gambling platforms from children’s pages on their websites.

As BBC Sport revealed, the media hub got in contact with the EPL clubs Arsenal, West Ham, Tottenham and Aston Villa, as well as with the Championship clubs Reading, Millwall and Queens Park Rangers, to inform them of the links that violate the gambling regulator’s rules.

Some of the clubs reached by BBC Sport apologised for the links to gambling operators that have been placed on their websites.

Reportedly, the links to online betting sites appeared at the bottom of the seven junior membership and children’s games pages, and in some cases, the links opened through free-bets offers. Most of them have already been taken down but as of November 4th, there was still a direct link to the gambling sponsor of West Ham’s on the football club’s children’s colouring-in page, which features pictures of a teddy bear, the club mascot, and the team’s former captain Bobby Moore. As revealed by BBC Sport, the sponsor features a banner that appears on every page of the football club’s website.

Football Should Not Normalise Gambling to Children, UKGC Says

The regulator of the UK gambling industry revealed that it would be investigating the matter. As the Commission shared, there are already 55,000 British children who are currently addicted to gambling and football should not make gambling look normal to its young fans.

The UKGC further noted that, under the existing rules in the country, gambling advertising and sponsor credits are not allowed to be displayed on any web pages that target underage individuals. The gambling watchdog also explained that sports teams are required to make sure that all content on such platforms is in line with children appropriation rules. The Commission also said that it expected gambling operators to take responsibility for the placement of their gambling logos and adverts.

The Big Step, a campaign group that operates as part of the local charity organisation Gambling with Lives, commented on the findings and said that the junior section of club websites needs to be a safe place for underage individuals if the club wants to guarantee their engagement, and not provide access to online gambling sites. The group also noted that most clubs’ websites do not feature any links to online gambling platforms on the pages targeted at children.

As explained by six of the seven football clubs – Tottenham, West Ham, Reading, Aston Villa, Millwall and Queens Park Rangers – the links that could have been found at the bottom of some of their junior pages, were placed there in error. Arsenal F.C. revealed that the list of sponsors only appeared on the page with its junior membership programme. The EPL football club said that page was aimed at parents who want to sign their children up, but still, it removed the controversial links to avoid any more confusion.

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.

Daniel Williams
Author: Wanda Peters