Sportsbooks Pull the Plug on Soccer Card Markets Following Paqueta Scandal

Posted on: September 12, 2023, 06:47h. 

Last updated on: September 12, 2023, 08:13h.

The fallout from an ongoing scandal involving Brazilian soccer star Lucas Paqueta and yellow cards has forced some sportsbooks to take action. The drama is just the latest in the sports betting ecosystem, and operators are working overtime to clean the field.

A soccer player receives a yellow card from a referee during a match
A soccer player receives a yellow card from a referee during a match. Some sportsbooks are removing betting on bookings following recent match-fixing scandals. (Image: Pinterest)

Six of the UK’s leading betting companies have opted to stop bets related to yellow cards on Paqueta, who plays for the English Premier League team West Ham. The decision follows questionable bets on the 25-year-old during a few previous games.

Paqueta allegedly – and perhaps intentionally – received a yellow card during a match last season, although he has not yet been officially accused. The Football Association (FA) is looking into the accusations and three other suspicious cases with other players in the same league.

West Ham has opted to keep Paqueta on their first team in the Premier League despite the ongoing investigation.

The decision to stop the markets follows a consultation with legal advisors to preserve the operators’ integrity, as reported by Mail Sport.

Expulsion for Card Markets

Betway, which reported the potential violations to the FA and is a West Ham sponsor, is one of the operators that chose to withdraw from the yellow card market. It includes Bet365, Betfair, Paddy Power, SkyBet, and William Hill.

However, they are apparently only pulling the markets that involve Paqueta. All other bookings and penalties related to other players will remain intact, at least for now.

The suspensions were reportedly in-house decisions the operators made independently. The FA recently stated that it believes all booking markets should be banned. However, the operators indicated that the FA’s position did not influence their decisions.

A change of this size would need intervention from the UK Gambling Commission. But because it is more difficult, the FA is reportedly discussing options with the operators individually. If they don’t accept the proposal, the FA may push for a ban in the lower leagues and the first rounds of England’s less important championships.

Bookings Betting Ban in Brazil

A similar initiative to ban betting on yellow or red cards in soccer is underway in Brazil. The country has been the subject of a long-running investigation into potential match-fixing, the timing of which couldn’t be worse.

Brazil is only now finalizing the rules for what will become a regulated sports betting market. As such, any activity or scandal that negatively impacts the perception of betting could lead to changes or restrictions in the final regulations.

The evangelical caucus of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies is going a step further and is trying to block the approval of the legislation completely. Brazilian media outlet Folha de São Paulo recently reported that one of the leaders of this sector in Congress, Deputy Silas House, considers betting as harmful as drugs. He said the caucus doesn’t support gambling under any circumstances because it’s “synonymous with addiction and a disgrace for the Brazilian family.”

The caucus, which has a significantly strong position in politics, has been able to block gambling initiatives in the past. It isn’t a political party but a group of legislators whose ideals align.

The media outlet Gazeta Do Povo once described it as the country’s third-strongest political alliance.