A football player eating a pie during an FA Cup match between Sutton United and Arsenal early last year has put Tabcorp UK in serious trouble.
The trouble is further compounded by an individual streaking across the football pitch in an apparent violation of gaming rules.
Both incidents related to two novelty betting markets that left Tabcorp’s customers vulnerable to losses, prompting the Gambling Commission to set up an investigation.
In the first incident, Sutton FC goalkeeper Wayne Shaw consumed a pie while his team played against Arsenal in the fifth round of the competition on February 20, 2017. Subsequent investigations revealed that Tabcorp, trading as SunBets, had offered +800 odds of the goalkeeper eating pie during the match.
“This is not acceptable,” said Richard Watson, Gambling Commission programme director.
“Gambling firms must ensure the systems they have in place are protecting their customers effectively.”
The Football Association fined Goalkeeper Shaw £375 and imposed a two-month playing ban on him.
The Commission stated that Tabcorp failed woefully to carry out required risk assessments associated with the novelty betting markets before running the markets. The Football Association stated that the goalkeeper influenced a football betting market deliberately to the detriment of unaware SunBets customers.
Tabcorp agreed in its defense that it failed to manage the risks related with offering novelty bets and that there were system weaknesses related to self-exclusions, novelty markets and risk management which scammers exploited. However, Tabcorp had taken necessary actions to remedy the situation before submitting a self-report to the Gambling Commission over both incidents.
“Novelty betting markets, such as the market Tabcorp UK offered on last year’s FA Cup tie between Sutton United vs Arsenal, may seem like a bit of fun, but the consequences were serious – with the potential to encourage someone to commit a criminal act or breach a sports governing bodies’ rules,” said Watson.
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