The UK’s latest news on horse racing focuses on a former data analyst in this field. Jack Bentham, who comes from East Yorkshire and is 24 years of age, worked for PA Media, previously known as Press Association. The betting industry has received its data on horse and greyhound races from PA Media, and this agency also has an automated pricing product that is capable of generating real-time fixed odds for the trading teams of sportsbooks. However, Bentham was playing fast and loose with the data and is accused of altering race results to his benefit.
Bentham Manipulated Data in His Favor
The Yorkshire Post reported that, in a Hull Magistrate’s Court hearing this past Monday, Bentham altered the race data to his personal benefit. His underhanded manipulation took place in 2018, during October 13 and October 22. Although the details concerning the exact nature of the manipulation have not been released, it was stated that he made approximately $13,600 (£10,000) by using an account from Paddy Power, a well-known sportsbook that recently launched its first trading exchange.
The investigation was launched by authorities after Skybet and Paddy Power filed complaints in which they stated that there are irregular betting activities coming from accounts that are linked to Bentham. This is a solid reflection that anti-match-fixing efforts in sports are paying off.
Bentham pleaded guilty to the charge of fraud by abusing his position, and he is to be sentenced in mid-September. Prosecutor James Byatt told Bentham that he committed fraud by being a racing specialist. It is expected that he safeguard data and not be acting counter to the Press Association’s interests. Hence, he abused that position dishonestly for personal gains.
Nick Tubbs, Bentham’s lawyer, stated that the client accepted full responsibility for the acts and has taken measures to address his gambling problem.
A 27-Year Old Scam Might Have Inspired Bentham
Bentham’s inspiration to tinker with the results may have been inspired by a 27-year-old fraud. A person working at the Racing Post in the UK in August 1998 altered the outcomes of four greyhound races. This was not for his benefit, but for a gambling syndicate before the newspaper was printed.
At the time, data providers were not able to provide bookmakers with live feeds of the results from various races. Additionally, greyhound races were insignificant as they were only taking place at UK’s two largest tracks. Three months before the events of this scam, Sporting Life, a rival newspaper that focused on racing, folded, leaving Racing Post as the only source of information for betting events for bookmakers.
But, this time, Press Association made sure that the correct results were transmitted to the Racing Post shortly after the races on Saturday finished. However, when they were featured in the print edition the following day, three winners were altered. Additionally, the odds were changed from 11/10 to 3/1 for a larger payout.
The one thing that gave the fraud away was the fact that numerous other bets linked to the races, including accumulators with odds that went as high as 199/1, were placed at brick-and-mortar casinos in various regions in the country.
Bookmakers became suspicious after numerous people that went in to cash their betting slips were told to come back later as the facilities did not have enough funds. Many of the claimants did not return. However, some managed to claim their winnings successfully and even though the amount that was won remains unknown, it is speculated that is upwards of $50,000.
No other person has been arrested in connection with the fraud.