BBC Investigation Finds Online Gambling Links On Youth Fan Pages

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“The logos, linking to gambling sites, often appeared under details of how to join junior [soccer] clubs and be a club mascot”

Raking in more than 50% of its profit from addicts just isn’t enough dirty money for the online gambling industry. The predatory industry – under fire for being “addicted to addiction” – continues to sink to new lows aimed at luring even more of the most vulnerable.

A devastating new BBC investigation exposes the industry’s latest shameful strategy to entice young kids: placing links on youth sections of top soccer club websites.

Putting the youngest soccer fans a single click away from online casinos aligns all too well with the industry’s clear and consistent pattern of targeting children with cartoons – and bombarding them with ads:

  • The Times: “Cartoons lure kids to online gambling”
  • The Times: “Children are being bombarded with a record number of gambling adverts as betting websites embark on an unprecedented spending spree to attract new customers”
  • The Sun: “Fears grow over cartoons in online games luring kids to gambling”

The BBC‘s findings are also troublingly similar to the Business Insider report from earlier this year, which caught ads for online casinos currently operating in New Jersey on one of the top-five most popular websites for kids.

FLASHBACK:

  • Business Insider: Online gambling ads appear on a gaming website called GirlsGoGames.com

In case you missed it, read more about the online gambling industry’s predatory practices below:

Betting links found on football clubs’ junior fan pages
BBC
By Ben Robinson
September 7, 2018
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45423065

Links to online gambling firms have been placed in junior sections of the websites of 15 football clubs, a BBC investigation has found.

The logos, linking to gambling sites, often appeared under details of how to join junior clubs and be a club mascot.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) demanded “immediate action” in response to the BBC’s findings.

The English Football League apologised, while some of the clubs have removed the adverts from their junior sections.

ASA rules state online gambling adverts cannot be targeted at anyone under the age of 18.

However, 5 live Investigates discovered 15 football clubs spanning the Premier League, the Championship, League One and the Scottish Premiership, had logos of betting firms or links to gambling sites on pages aimed at junior supporters.

All of the clubs have gambling firms as their shirt sponsors.

Among them was Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers, whose “Junior Fans” page contained the logo of a gambling company and club sponsor at the bottom of the page.

The link opened a page of a gambling site featuring Wolves players.

Championship club Aston Villa’s “Junior Villans” page contained two logos of gambling firms, including one which opened an “Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway” game and a “Jurassic World” game.

Scottish Premiership champions Glasgow Celtic’s “Young Hoops” pages also contained links to a gambling site.

All three clubs have since removed the adverts from their pages.

It comes after NHS England this week warned football clubs should do more to help tackle gambling addiction.

Shabnum Mustapha, from the ASA, said clubs needed to take “immediate action” to remove gambling logos from junior pages.

“Our compliance team will be writing to the Premier League, English Football League, the FA and SFA to set out clearly our concerns in this area, to highlight the UK gambling rules and how they apply to football club websites.”

‘Hugely surprising’

Tim Miller, executive director of the Gambling Commission, said it was “not acceptable” for gambling advertising and logos to be presented on web pages of sports teams that are targeted at children.

“Sports teams should be ensuring that all content on such web pages is appropriate for children and we expect gambling companies to take responsibility for where their adverts and logos appear.”

Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, described the findings as “hugely surprising”.

“That’s not something I would have thought would have been the kind of site that you’d want your seven, eight, nine-year-old child to be going through to,” she said.

Ms Longfield called for education about gambling to be included in the school curriculum.

Last November, 24-year-old Jack Ritchie, from Sheffield, took his own life after battling a gambling addiction, which began when he was 17.

His mother, Liz, who has since founded the Gambling with Lives campaign group, said she was sure betting adverts in football had affected him.

“It normalised it and it’s made normal by being a part of the thing they love, which is football,” she said.

Read the full BBC investigation here

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