Ladbrokes Coral Sportsbook Worker Faces Prison Over ‘Past-Posting’ Scam

Posted on: August 15, 2018, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: August 15, 2018, 04:43h.

The assistant manager of a bookmaker’s shop in Dundee, Scotland, is facing prison after a glitch in the computer system allowed him to scam his employer, Ladbrokes Coral, out of more than £40,000 ($51,000).

Gavin Thomson stumbled on a way to past-post bets during his time as an assistant manager of a bookmaking shop in the eastern Scottish city of Dundee. He amassed $51,000 in fraudulent winnings before he was rumbled. (Image: The Courier)

Gavin Thomson worked for a Coral betting shop in the eastern Scottish city when he discovered the bug which enabled him to place bets on events after they had happened.

Prosecutors claim he “induced others to place a number of bets on his behalf,” providing the stake, in Coral branches in Dundee and the nearby town of Forfar between October 2015 and January 2016.

In January 2016, a regional risk assessor with Coral carried out an audit of payout made at the Forfar branch,” Saima Rasheed, prosecuting, told the court. “It was discovered there was a problem with the computer system which allowed bets to be retrospectively placed for events that have passed, by changing the sport type when inputting the bet on to the system.

“The assessor discovered 64 bets placed after the events took place that had been processed by the accused in Forfar,” she said.

First Offender

Ladbroke’s Coral immediately suspended Thomson and a police investigation was launched, which eventually led to two charges of embezzlement on indictment.

The defendant initially intended to plead not guilty, but admitted the charges at the Dundee Sheriff Court this week.

“He stated there was a glitch and he was going through a bad period of gambling and found it an easy way to get money back,” said Rasheed. “He said when he found the glitch he used it to his advantage. He said he involved customers and replied that it was to cover his tracks,”

Thomson’s lawyer, Sarah Russo, told the court her client had a gambling problem that began when his daughter was born, adding that he was a “genuine first offender.”

Blast from the Past

The case evokes the scams of a bygone era, before radio and television, when bookmakers relied on wire transmissions for the results of races, and conmen would hold up transmissions long enough to get their bets in — a split second after races had run, a practice known as past-posting.

The scam was immortalized in the 1971 movie The Sting, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, which was inspired by the real-life exploits of brothers Fred and Charley Gondorff.

Unlike The Sting, however, this case is unlike to end happily for Thomson. He is scheduled to be sentenced in September.