April 16 – A betting firm which offered odds on an English non-league player eating a pie on camera during a high-profile cup match has been fined £84,000.
In February last year Sutton United, a tier below English football’s fourth professional league, staged the biggest game of their history, a fifth-round FA cup tie against 12-time winners Arsenal with the eyes of the world on the most romantic fixture in that season’s competition.
But the occasion was marred by a publicity stunt that made just as many headlines and involved Sutton’s portly reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw who was filmed eating the said pie while on the substitutes bench.
Shaw had little option but to leave the club after the UK’s Gambling Commission, the regulatory body that oversees British gambling, and the Football Association announced investigations into his actions when it emerged that a betting company had offered odds against any Sutton player tucking into a pie during the televised game.
Shaw, who weighed 20 stone, was caught on camera doing exactly and the Gambling Commission has now ruled that Tabcorp UK Limited, trading as Sun Bets, failed to properly manage the risks associated with offering ‘novelty’ bets.
Tabcorp has been fined for offering odds of 8-1 that Shaw would finish the entire pie while the game was going on.
The commission also punished Tabcorp for offering bets on whether a streaker would run on to the pitch, which it warned was a potential inducement to committing a criminal offence.
The commission said Tabcorp could lose its licence to operate in the UK if it is found to be behind similar stunts in future.
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