Ladbrokes moves quickly to remove markets on young soccer star

Ladbrokes moves quickly to remove markets on young soccer star

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Celtic's 13-year-old Karamoko Dembele hit the headlines this week

Ladbrokes has pulled down all markets for Celtic’s 13-year-old sensation Karamoko Dembele from its website, after being criticised by Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner, Tam Bailie.

Alex Donohue, PR Manager and Head of Ladbrokes News, told “We have written to the Children's Commissioner this morning to confirm that no bets were taken on this market and to reaffirm our commitment to responsible gambling. We also have sought to clarify that there was no intention of encouraging the commodification of children in Scottish football.”

Ladbrokes was prompted to offer a selection of odds after Dembele, who was born in London to parents from the Ivory Coast, was handed his Celtic debut for the development squad in a 3-1 win over Hearts at Cappielow on Monday. The bookmaker offered odds on various markets, including for Dembele to become Celtic’s youngest player (7/4), and to join Barcelona (33/1).

Tam Bailie, who is responsible for safeguarding the rights of children and young people in Scotland, had commented: “I share the disquiet at yet another example, this time from Ladbrokes, of the commodification of Scottish children in professional football.

“Children are already being subjected to actual transfers in the Scottish game and yet the SFA and SPFL turn a blind eye. The amount of money in and around clubs has led to the exploitation of the dreams and aspirations of young people who hope to become professional footballers.”

Totally Gaming says: Ladbrokes is the headline sponsor of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) and has quickly taken the necessary steps to avoid any further controversy. The odds for Dembele may have been reflective of conversations happening up and down the country, but they must not be seen to be encouraging gambling around children as it is an area the Gambling Commission takes very seriously. 

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