UK Gaming Companies Betway, MrQ G in Trouble for Targeting Kids in Ads
Posted on: September 21, 2022, 01:05h.
Last updated on: September 21, 2022, 04:39h.
Betway and MrQ, two UK operators, have allegedly violated gaming rules when they targeted children. One will now have to pay a significant fine to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to settle its case.
The UKGC announced on its website on Tuesday a £408,915 (US$463,178) fine against Betway over teddy bears. The drama goes back to April 2020, when the Super Group-owned brand had a marketing presence on the website of the West Ham soccer team.
The marketing gimmick allowed children to print a picture of a teddy bear from the website and color it. The problem was that the picture page also included Betway’s logo, which linked to its website.
In another case, the company’s logo found its way to the soccer club’s “Young Hammers at Home” page. That page was an initiative the team created during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep young minds occupied while they missed school. Including sports betting wasn’t supposed to be part of the arrangement.
To be fair, West Ham wasn’t the only club guilty of having teddy bears exposing Betway. Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham, Aston Villa, and others also displayed the link.
Betway’s logo appeared until Nov. 2021. As soon as the BBC broke the news, the clubs began taking them down.
MrQ Calls Spidey Into Action
MrQ’s problem stemmed from an ad displaying Spider-Man. MrQ, part of the Lindar Media gaming group, put an ad on Reddit that brought the cartoon version of Spider-Man to life. In it, there are three different versions of the superhero pointing at each other, with a captioned “MrQ” floating over their heads.
The image itself is a popular meme that has been recreated many times to depict when several different items are the same. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received several complaints from individuals who argued that using a cartoon would strongly appeal to children.
MrQ didn’t face as serious of reprimanding as Betway, however. The ASA censured MrQ and put it on notice. Lindar, in accepting the outcome, asserted that an ad agency created the ad, although it admitted to approving the campaign without viewing it. The company said it has since terminated its relationship with the agency.