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Tabcorp Suffers UKGC Backlash for Self-Exclusion Management Failures

Today, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) revealed that it is to review the UK operating license of the Australian gaming, wagering and Keno operator Tabcorp Holdings.

As revealed by the major gambling watchdog of the UK, the betting operator, which got involved in the so-called “pie-gate” incident in 2017, failed to properly manage the risks related to “novelty” bets offering. The Commission carried out an investigation, which proved that Tabcorp UK Limited, trading as Sun Bets, had done nothing to prevent over 100 self-excluded customers from opening new accounts and place bets.

The UK Gambling Commission imposed a penalty package on Tabcorp UK including a monetary fine amounting to more than £84,000. The company has paid £50,000 as a substitute to financial penalty to charities for socially responsible purposes. The remaining £24,174 have already been returned to affected customers. As mentioned above, as part of the penalty package, the operator’s UK license is to be reviewed by the local gambling watchdog. The company would also pay a total of £10,000 to cover the investigation costs of the UK Gambling Commission.

In addition, the penalty package that has been imposed to Tabcorp includes some extra conditions that have been placed on the company’s operating license. Under the additional rules, the company must make sure that it addresses appropriately all risks associated with novelty betting markets. Moreover, Tabcorp would be suspended from offering novelty markets dependent on an event that could occur as a violation of the relevant rules imposed by the sports regulatory body. Furthermore, the company will not be able to offer markets which depend on an event involving a criminal offence.

Investigation Launched After 2017 “Pie-Gate” Incident

The investigation was launched by the UKGC after Wayne Shaw, goalkeeper of Sutton FC, ate a pie during the club’s tie against Arsenal in February 2017. It turned out that odds of 8/1 on Shaw eating a pie during the match had been offered by Sun Bets. Shaw was imposed a monetary penalty of £375 and got suspended from playing football for a couple of months by the Football Association (FA), with the latter saying that Shaw intentionally influenced the football betting market.

The programme director of the British gambling regulatory body, Richard Watson, revealed that vulnerable customers were allowed to continue gambling with the company, in spite of the fact that they have previously chosen to use the right to self-exclude themselves from the operator’s website. Mr. Watson further shared that no matter how much fun they could look like, novelty betting markets could have serious consequences on more vulnerable individuals’ lives.

The gambling regulatory body of the UK has found that Tabcorp had breached Social Responsibility Code’s rules 3.5.3 (1) and 3.5.3 (6) regarding self-exclusion. In addition, the company violated the law by offering a novelty market dependent on a criminal offence. In addition, the novelty market offered carried a risk of encouraging people to breach the existing watchdog rules. According to the UKGC, Tabcorp UK also failed to properly manage the risks in accordance to its license.

The UKGC revealed that Tabcorp UK accepted there were some weaknesses in its systems associated with self-exclusion measures, promotional events’ risk management and novelty markets.

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