A former Press Association employee is facing a substantial punishment after admitting to changing horse racing results in order to ‘win’ his bets – netting £10,000 in the scheme.
Jack Bentham was working at the firm in October 2018 when he committed his crimes, and after appearing in Hull Magistrate’s Court this week the insider has pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position.
The 24-year-old, only speaking in court when confirming his guilty plea, is accused of ‘manipulating race data to change race results in his favour’, and that is a considerable breach given that the Press Association – now known as PA Media – is the official reporting body for bookmakers including Paddy Power.
His ruse was only spotted when those bookies launched their own independent investigations into so-called ‘irregular betting activity’ on Bentham’s account, recorded at his Yorkshire location.
The clerk of the court confirmed to those gathered:
“Between October 13, 2018 and October 22, 2018, at Howden, East Yorkshire, you committed fraud in that, while occupying a position, namely racing specialist, in which you were expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of the Press Association, you dishonestly abused that position intending thereby to make a gain, namely winnings of approximately £10,000 for yourself.”
In defence, Bentham’s solicitor Nick Tubbs confirmed that his client had a gambling problem, and had since the age of 18. He had only started working at the Press Association a month prior to the offences – which took place between October 13-22 – occurring.
The 24-year-old has addressed his gambling issues and takes full responsibility for the offences. He has been granted unconditional bail, but will head to Hull Crown Court to hear his sentencing on September 14 with the Chair of the Bench ordered a pre-sentence report.
Why Do PA Media Report Horse Racing Results?
Regarded as one of the largest sports data companies in the UK, PA Media have been tasked by a number of bookmakers to manage their horse racing betting markets as they are the firm that reports official results.
Many of the bookies you frequent will be using PA Media’s data services, with the brand covering approximately 175 races per day across the UK, Ireland, South Africa, USA and Australia, with other selected Group One encounters thrown in for good measure.
The full race cards you see on betting sites and apps are also supplied by PA Media, with all of the info – including start time, course, runners, jockeys, trainers, form, prize money and silks – inputted by the firm’s in-house team.
There’s also stacks of content provided on race day, from live shows and non-runner confirmation to going reports and live text commentary.
And, most pertinently in this case, the PA Media team also confirm the results of races – data from which the betting markets are settled. That offers an inside into how Bentham was able to fraudulently claim that his bets were winners.
For your peace of mind, the affected races and bets placed were subsequently settled correctly once his offences had been reported.