When the odds makers at Tabcorp UK Limited offered a novelty bet surrounding whether or not Sutton United FC goalkeeper Wayne Shaw would eat a pie on the sidelines, they really hadn’t thought things through. That, supposedly fun, novelty bet and a few other offenses are costing the company £84,000 ($120,000) USD in fines from the watchdogs over at the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

Novelty bets like the pie wager, it turns out, are pretty funny marketing tools but the UKGC takes them extremely seriously. In particular, the Commission was not happy about the fact that Tabcorp was offering a wager on an event that represents a breach of the rules of the sport (apparently pie-eating is no-no). That same logic was applied to wagers on whether or not a streaker will run across the field (streaking is illegal pretty much everywhere).

The Commission’s written statement on piegate includes this surreal, and memorable quote reading:

Tabcorp UK accepts that it did not carry out a specific risk assessment on the potential impact of the pie-eating market on the individual who had a pivotal role in determining the outcome of that market, and did not assess whether the market carried a real risk of inducing an individual to breach a sports governing body’s rules.

On a more serious note, Tabcorp was also dinged for not being in compliance with regulations designed to keep self-excluded problem gamblers from accessing their sites. The company was accused of allowing problem gamblers to open duplicate accounts so that they could keep gambling. Tabcorp has since refunded more than 100 accounts that fall into this category.

In a statement to the UKGC, Tabcorp officials took responsibility for their company’s actions and vowed stricter compliance in the future.


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