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The Sutton goalie controversy vs Arsenal – was it really that bad?
PIE-GATE…what a load of over-hyped rubbish, and how can Sutton United goalkeeper Wayne Shaw eating a pie breach gambling rules?
Who lost out? Who lost money? The only victim was Shaw himself, and let me explain why.
The UKs newest bookie Sun Bets decided to sponsor the non-leaguers in their big FA Cup fifth round clash at Gander Green Lane against Premier League big-boys Arsenal.
In the build-up to the biggest match in the club’s history the focus was on Sutton’s larger than life reserve goalkeeper and Mr Sutton Shaw, a man who did pretty much everything at Gander Green Lane; he cleaned the dressing rooms and slept in them in his bid to save money for his beloved club.
Sun Bets obviously saw the attraction in offering some specials on the larger than life 20 stone character, and one of them was 8/1 for him to be seen eating a pie during the game.
These special markets are meant as “fun” bets, which means that generally the average size bet that anybody can get on is £10 with a maximum of £50 to any one client. Anybody trying to get on more than this would spark a trigger and raise suspicion, and it never happened.
The price was never cut, which is unusual, because if there was a “flurry” of bets on these markets, the odds would tumble accordingly. However, as kick-off approached this market was still 8/1.
At half-time Shaw was in the bar with the fans having a pint – surely that breaches FA rules – but no, then at 2-0 down with minutes to go, he is spotted by the TV cameras munching on a pasty. At the time the bench and commentators where laughing and joking, but the next morning all hell broke lose.
The FA and gambling commission where looking into breaches of betting rules and what looked an innocent bit of fun became the biggest talking point in the country.
Sun Bets claimed they lost £10,000 on the market which means that £1,200 was bet on Shaw eating a pie during the game, but who lost out? Just the bookie, who was happy to do so as they had paid a high profile amount to sponsor the game and where getting a lot more than £10,000 worth of exposure in the media.
Compare this to other “real” breaches of betting rules in snooker, tennis and cricket; wherever there has been skulduggery, there has always an innocent party that loses money due to no fault of their own, just betting on the wrong game at the wrong time.
But on these occasions their are no financial losers. If Sun Bets had offered 1/10 Shaw not to eat a pie then it would be a very different story as that would see innocent punters placing money and being robbed of it, but they didn’t. The bookie was the only party to lose money and they were very happy to pay-out. No punters lost money on the game and the only loser was Shaw himself who lost his job.
Is Shaw a gambling cheat? No. Naïve? Yes. Will skullduggery go on again in sport? It actually happens regularly, and the gambling commission need to go after the REAL cheats.
Nigel Seeley currently writes betting articles for The Sun and is a former journalist at the Racing Post and has regularly appeared on TalkSport and Sky Sports News.