Tuesday, January 26, 2016 : PINNACLE SPORTS' AUSTRALIAN OPEN TENNIS BETTING SHUTDOWN A PUBLICITY STUNT? (Update)
Former Betfair exec suggests it was…and neither Betfair or William Hill noticed anything suspicious.
When online sports betting operator Pinnacle Sports suspended betting on a mixed doubles match at the Australian Open tennis championships this week due to suspicious wagering activity, it made headlines around the world after earlier allegations of tennis corruption by the BBC and Buzzfeed
Small wonder, then, that allegations that it was all a publicity stunt are attracting similarly wide coverage. The allegation was made by a former Betfair executive Tuesday to Australian media, implying that the ploy was eminently successful, albeit highly unethical and downright dishonest.
Former Betfair head of education Scott Ferguson, who now works as a consultant, made the startling suggestion, opining that Pinnacle's actions were a "cheap grab at free publicity" and baseless.
Ferguson supported his view by pointing out that neither Betfair nor William Hill, both highly experienced, well equipped and respected bookmakers, had reported any suspicious or unusual activity regarding the match on which Pinnacle suspended betting, and continued to take bets even after Pinnacle's action.
A William Hill spokesman subsequently confirmed that his company and not picked up any suspicious wagering activity.
Ferguson noted that Pinnacle's wagering limits on the match in question were low, and that suspending betting would not have been an expensive option to take.
Pinnacle had not responded to the allegations when we went to press Tuesday morning.