Jack Bentham, a recovering gambling addict and a former horse racing analyst at PA Media, has been sentenced to ten months in prison after he was found guilty of manipulating race data to better reflect his own picks. Effectively, he robbed bettors, who had placed winning bets, of their proceedings by altering the data to suit his picks. At the same time, bettors who had lost money, in reality, received winnings because of the changes Bentham enacted.
The 24-year-old man would toy with live racing data feeds which would, in turn, impact the decisions made by horse racing enthusiasts. The company he worked for is providing feeds for the horse betting industry, which makes his transgression serious.
Unsupervised Work Leads to Frivolity
Bentham would take the opportunity to change feeds to suit his own picks, the Hull Crown Court found out, arguing the young man did so on days he was working on his own. The way he did this, prosecutors explained, was to place a bet on the favorite in a race.
In the cases the favorite lost, Bentham would simply change the label to make the horse the winner. He managed to generate a total of around $20,000 between October 13 and October 22 in 2018 when the transgression was carried out.
Bentham staked a total of 105 wagers, some of which were modified to reflect the analyst’s own preferences. However, Bentham’s frolicking would not continue for long as bet365, Paddy Power, and SkyBet, much to their credit, immediately saw aberrations in the betting patterns displayed online, not to mention the discrepancies in winning horses.
Fraud Is Found Out by Industry Heavyweights
Paddy Power immediately suspended Bentham’s account which held around $7,000. The court showed little leniency towards Bentham, arguing that his actions were a “serious breach of trust.” Judge Megan Rhys called the fraud staggering and particularly so in light of the short period it was committed.
PA Media has suffered reputational damage as a result, Rhys continued. However, Bentham has not tried to walk away from responsibility, pleading guilty and showing remorse for his actions. He acknowledged that he had a problem and was excluded from betting shops and sites, arguing that addiction was behind his condition.
Bentham’s defense attorney, Stephen Robinson, depicted his client’s falling into addictive gambling patterns as he had been exposed to gambling before he turned 18. Robinson concluded that his client was aware of the shame that he had brought on his family and was regretful of the reputation damage he had inflicted on PA Media.