The online betting firm, SunBets, was slammed with a thousand dollar fine by the UK Gambling Commission. The penalty is over last year’s “piegate” controversy involving Sutton FC’s former goalkeeper, and the company allowing self-excluded customers to continue betting using duplicate user accounts. SunBets could lose its gambling licence in Britain should similar incidents occur in the future.
The “Piegate” Incident
In February 2017, SunBets offered odds of 8/1 that Sutton FC goalkeeper, Wayne Shaw, would eat a pie during the club’s match with Arsenal. During the match, the substitute goalkeeper was indeed seen eating a pie. The incident resulted in Shaw being served a £375 (AU$690.25) monetary penalty and got sacked from playing football for two months by the Football Association (FA). The FA concluded that Shaw was intentionally influencing the football betting market.
Shaw later resigned from the club, but fortunately for him – he did not receive a hiding alone.
UKGC’s Investigation on SunBets
The UK Gambling Commission launched a probe into the online betting site. UKGC found that SunBets – which is operated by Australia’s online gambling, wagering and Keno giant – Tabcorp Holdings, failed to manage the risks related to offering “novelty bets” properly. During the very same match, SunBets offered bets on whether a streaker would run on to the pitch. The act is regarded a potential inducement to committing a criminal offence. The investigation also proved that Tabcorp had allowed over 100 self-excluded gamblers to gamble online using duplicate accounts.
The commission’s programme director, Richard Watson, told the media that it was unacceptable for Tabcorp UK to allow vulnerable customers to be able to gamble despite choosing to self-exclude.
“This is not acceptable,” said Watson. “Gambling firms must ensure the systems they have in place are protecting their customers effectively.”
“Novelty betting markets, such as the market Tabcorp UK offered on last year’s FA Cup tie between Sutton United and 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 body’s rules,” he added.
UKGC fined the company a massive £84,000 (AU$154,708.96) for such misconducts.
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