Call me strange if you like, but I always get excited when I learn the existence of a new bingo game, but my excitement was short-lived. When news hit of a new type of bingo game, many of us were left wanting to know more until we actually learned it was nothing to do with the numbers game at all and was more to do with placing bets on sports.
Actually, let me rephrase that, it was a system Sky Bet had hoped would go live just before the clash between Manchester United and Liverpool, where football fans would place wagers on what phrases they believed the pundits would utter during the game! How ridiculously stupid is that! While trying to break into new gambling avenues they’ve only gone and stirred up old tensions with the Government and anti-gambling charities over responsible gambling – and rightly so!
Kick-off and Kick-Out:
The English Premier League (EPL) is the biggest in the world with games broadcast to 212 territories worldwide with an average of 12 million tuning in each fixture, and Sky Bet, who also own Sky Bingo, Sky Vegas, Sky Casino, Sky Live Casino, Sky Poker and lottery wanted to cash in on a unique gambling idea, but thanks to Twitter users, it was pulled minutes before kick-off!
Commentator Bingo has to be the most stupid game of non-responsible bingo I’ve ever heard of in my life and I’ve seen some pretty silly things in my years of playing! I’m all for unique bingo games but not a system that can be easily manipulated for one’s own gain, as one Twitter user expressed. Many took to the social media platform to express just how unethical this move was, including user known only as Vizzy: “If anything, the @GamRegGB (gambling regulator) needs to look into Sky Bet’s ‘Commentator Bingo’. It’s disgraceful and can easily be manipulated by Sky.”
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, chair of the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group got wind of this and said it was “astounding, unbelievable and predatory” to even offer such ‘bingo’ services! She continued with: “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.”
As unethical and as astounding as it may be, novelty football markets such as this are not prohibited by the current UK gambling laws, but we would hazard a guess that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is now looking at Sky Bet very closely. Colin, another Twitter user added his concerns to Gary Linekar, the ex-footballer and now a highly paid BBC sports pundit: “Never mind Sky Bet opening a market of ‘commentator bingo’ for Sunday’s match between Liverpool and Manchester United. Big questions need to be asked on how football has allowed itself to become so beholden to the betting industry.”
Source: “Sky Bet Pulls Commentator Bingo Market Following Twitter Backlash”. SBC News. January 18, 2020.