Sky Bet Withdraws ‘Commentator Bingo’ Following Social Media Backlash

Sky Bet ended its New Bingo Game ‘Commentator Bingo’ betting market ahead of Manchester United vs Liverpool’s Premier League clash on Sunday after a variety of questions were highlighted by Twitter users.

‘Exact words and phrases’

The demand for novelty required punters to bet on the ‘exact words and phrases’ used by Martin Tyler, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, Sky Football matchday commentators.

Twitter users shared their disbelief that Sky Sports had allowed Sky Bet on the Premier League’s highest-profile match to deliver a commentary-based betting market.

Withdrawn without clarification

Within hours of kick-off, without any formal clarification, Sky Bet had withdrawn ‘Commentator Bingo’ from its matchday inventory.

Sky Sports has no affiliation with Sky Bet, the former Sky Plc property that was sold for £ 800 million to private equity company CVC Capital Partners in 2015 and subsequently merged with The Stars Group and Flutter Entertainment Plc in 2018 and 2019 respectively, despite its brand association.

Criticism of market

The market come under criticism from Labour MP Carolyn Harris, Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group chair, who told The Athletic that Sky Bet offering such a market was ‘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. 

The new UK gaming laws do not ban novelty football markets such as ‘Commentator Bingo’.

However, after it was found that England international Kieran Trippier was guilty of breaking FA rules, the industry recently garnered criticism for providing markets on player transfers, having persuaded friends to bet on his move to Atletico Madrid in summer 2019.

Industry petition

After high-profile suspensions imposed on Trippier and former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, Betway launched an industry petition, an order carried by most bookmakers, to end all bets linked to player transfers.

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has, as it stands, made no comment as to whether new bets will be reviewed as part of its 2005 Gambling Act overhaul.

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