West Ham United’s main sponsors Betway have been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
West Ham have been sponsored by Betway since 2015.
And just last May the club announced it had renewed the partnership making it ‘the largest sponsorship deal in West Ham’s history (whufc.com).
The reputation of the online bookmaker was called into question today, though, after it was hit with a record £11.6million fine for a series of social responsibility and money laundering failings (The Daily Mail).
More negative headlines
It comes against the backdrop of their most high profile partner, West Ham, facing regular protests from angry fans demanding co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold and their vice-chairman Karren Brady leave the club.
According to reports in the likes of The Daily Mail, West Ham’s principal sponsor failed to carry out source of funds checks on a ‘VIP’ customer who deposited more than £8million and lost more than £4million in four years.
It also did not carry out effective social responsibility interactions with a customer who deposited and lost £187,000 in two days, the Gambling Commission said.
‘Little regard for welfare of VIP customers’
A probe found the firm allowed £5.8million to flow through the business which has been found, or could reasonably be suspected to be, proceeds of crime.
Gambling Commission executive director Richard Watson said: ‘The actions of Betway suggest there was little regard for the welfare of its VIP customers or the impact on those around them.’
The Betway case is the largest penalty package ever in the UK.
Length of latest West Ham deal with Betway undisclosed
At the time of writing West Ham are yet to release any official statement on the matter.
It is unclear whether the fine will impact Betway’s business operations or whether the company’s sponsorship agreements will be affected.
West Ham did not disclose how long the latest deal signed last year was set to run for, only describing it as ‘long-term’.
The initial deal with Betway was for one-year before the club agreed a new three-year deal in 2017.
The extension signed last year is likely to be a similar term.