Australian betting group TabCorp has been fined by the UK Gambling Commission for its role in last year’s ‘piegate’ incident when Sutton FC goalkeeper Wayne Shaw ate a pie during his club’s Cup Fifth Round tie against Arsenal.
The Commission’s investigations revealed that Tabcorp UK Limited, trading as Sunbets, failed to properly manage the risks associated with offering ‘novelty’ bets. During the Commission’s investigation it also became apparent that Tabcorp had allowed more than 100 self-excluded customers to open duplicate accounts and gamble. The company has had had its licence to offer gambling in Britain reviewed by the Gambling Commission.
Richard Watson, Gambling Commission programme director, said: “Vulnerable customers were able to gamble with Tabcorp UK, despite choosing to self-exclude. This is not acceptable. Gambling firms must ensure the systems they have in place are protecting their customers effectively.”
He added: “Novelty betting markets, such as the market Tabcorp UK offered on last year’s FA Cup tie between Sutton United v 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.”
Tabcorp UK is to have new conditions attached to its gambling licence and pay £84,000 to socially responsible causes.
The Commission launched an investigation after Sutton FC goalkeeper Wayne Shaw ate a pie during his club’s Cup Fifth Round tie against Arsenal in February last year. It emerged that SunBets had offered odds of 8/1 on Shaw eating a pie during the match and the goalkeeper was fined £375 and banned from playing for two months by the Football Association. The FA said it was proved that Shaw intentionally influenced a football betting market.
The Commission found weaknesses in Tabcorp UK’s systems and controls which meant that 118 self-excluded customers were able to open duplicate accounts and gamble. Two novelty markets were offered around which the risks had not been effectively assessed – the result of one was dependent on an individual committing a criminal offence, and the other on an individual breaching a sports governing body’s rules. In another breach a marketing event took place where the risk of offering non remote gambling, for which they do not hold a licence, had not been managed.