Gambling Commission tells operators to wise up with novelty betting

By David Cook
UK operators have been warned by the Gambling Commission (GC) on how they should manage novelty betting markets in relation to pre-recorded television shows.

Richard Watson, Programme Director, Enforcement and Intelligence for the GC, mentioned the Great British Bake off and Strictly Come Dancing in his letter.

BBC lawyers wrote to bookmakers last year voicing their discontent over the offering of odds on the outcome of pre-recorded Bake Off shows.

The Sun reported in October that Ladbrokes conducted an investigation after finding that 42 new customer accounts had been opened by players with links to BBC workers and Love Productions, which independently produces the show.

Operators took 529 bets through suspicious accounts in total.

In 2011, Strictly Come Dancing’s 2007 winner Alesha Dixon claimed one of the show’s producers had won £8,000 by betting on her to win the series.

The GC said in the letter: “There have been repeated instances of operators offering markets on pre-recorded television programmes such as the Great British Bake Off, Strictly Come Dancing and other novelty markets, following which media reports emerge that suggest there are issues of integrity.

“In a world of social media and rapid communication, the outcome of these markets is likely to be known to an ever-expanding group of consumers before the result is formally announced. We therefore require operators of these markets to demonstrate a robust management of the associated risks in order to ensure they uphold the licensing objectives.”
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