Betting on sport isn’t as black and white as you’d expect. You have markets for various sporting events and markets for non-sporting events too! During the US elections, there were bets being placed on who would win the presidency and bets were also being taken on talent shows too! Less than two-weeks ago, Sky Bet, a major gambling operator from the UK, thought they had stumbled upon a new and unique way of sports betting, but it was pulled just minutes before it was due to go live!
“…new and absurd way of placing bets”
Commentator Bingo was the brainchild of Sky Bet and a system where football fans could place bets on what phrases they thought Martin Tyler, Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville would say during the football fixture. The EPL clash between Manchester United and Liverpool was the match chosen for launch day (January 17th) and as grand as it was, focus was being taken away from the football pitch and onto this new and absurd way of placing bets!
You’ve Got to be Kidding Me!
Football betting fans took to Twitter in their masses to express how unethical and morally wrong this new concept was. One user said: “If anything, the @GamRegGB needs to look into Sky Bet’s ‘Commentator Bingo’. It’s disgraceful and can easily be manipulated by Sky,” with another adding: “Never mind Sky Bet opening a market of ‘commentator bingo’ for Sunday’s match between Liverpool and Manchester United. Big questions need to be asked on how football has allowed itself to become so beholden to the betting industry.”
But it wasn’t only the public’s attention that Commentator Bingo caught the eye of! Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chair of the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group was speaking to The Athletic when she called the new idea “astounding, unbelievable and predatory.”
“Where are the limits? What are the boundaries on what these companies are going to take a bet on? I am aghast that they try to find a betting opportunity in every minute of the day,” Harris stated. Dubbed a novelty market, there are no such laws to stop this type of betting, and as of today, the UK Gambling Commission has made no attempt to make a comment, but we expect there to be a change in the gambling law pretty soon.
The whole betting concept could be open to manipulation and how would it even be regulated? It’s important to note here that despite its brand affiliation, Sky Sports has no connection to Sky Bet. It’s not the first time a gambling market has sent shockwaves through the industry and we believe it won’t be the last as gambling operators like bookmakers fight over themselves to deliver something unheard of.