Bookmakers have been advised to tighten up their employment conditions in order to make sure that traders who spot an emerging coup on the books don’t look to profit themselves by placing bets with rival firms and also to protect themselves from such behaviour.
The Gambling Commission has written to the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) to highlight the potential risk to the licensing objectives, which resides in the potential conflict of interest that arises when a trader encounters information that might indicate suspicious betting activity. If the trader decides to use that information in their own interests by placing bets, the Commission is concerned that it might undermine confidence in the reporting system even if the suspicious pattern is still reported.
The regulator has suggested that two ‘industry-led’ measures will rectify the situation.
- Full implementation of Parry recommendation 1.11 which calls on operators to ‘vary betting terms and conditions to make the contravention of sports or other professional or employer rules on betting a breach of the operator’s own [betting] terms and conditions’. The ABB helpfully circulated a model condition in this area in 2010, but unfortunately it did not extend beyond sports rules (ie did not cover professional or employer rules). This case presents an important opportunity to fill this gap and in so doing complete the betting industry’s implementation of Parry.
- To underpin the effectiveness of the Parry recommendation, the provision of mutual assurance – at least among the larger betting operators – that effective employment terms and conditions are in place that require traders to act first and foremost in the interests of the employer and, as far as possible, seek to prevent cases similar to this one arising in the future. From our discussions with operators I should explain that Operator A in this case has made some sensible and constructive changes to its employment terms and conditions, which it may wish to share with other operators.
Gambling Commission director Matthew Hill commented: “Taken together we consider these two measures would make it harder for such cases to arise in the first place and easier for operators to refuse to pay when they do. It would have the added benefit, we believe, of strengthening significantly Britain’s ability to protect sports betting integrity, mitigate risk to the licensing objectives regarding criminal activity relating to corrupt races and ensure robust reporting.”