Gov’t acts on threat to pull illegal ads

The Government has pulled down scores of perimeter boards at Premiership football clubs, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, as part of its crackdown on illegal advertising by offshore gambling companies.

Customs & Excise has begun with a ban on the marketing activity of Gibraltar-based website Mansion.com, which has sponsored boards at a number of Premiership football clubs, including Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Fulham and Newcastle United. This is the first action taken by the government department since it sent out warning letters at the beginning of last month (MW December 2, 2004).

Industry sources claim the move has sparked a fierce argument between Mansion and its media agency over who was at fault for the illegal sponsorship going ahead. A spokesman for Mansion confirms that its boards have been removed and that it was in discussions with its media agency, but declines to comment further on the conflict.

Last month, Marketing Week revealed that the Government plans to clamp down on the marketing activities of all bookmakers based outside the UK as it attempts to regulate online gambling (MW December 2, 2004).

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