A Coral employee found a glitch in the company’s computer system that allowed him to place bets after events had finished.
In a scene straight out of “Back To The Future”, the member of staff managed to win more than £40,000 ($50,821) by using the scam.
Gavin Thompson, who worked at Coral’s shops in Scotland’s Dundee and Forfar, found a malfunction in the company’s computer system that allowed players to place bets after results were known.
Thompson used the scheme to amass £40,300 over a period of less than three months. During a preliminary hearing, it became apparent that he had been earning up to £1,000 ($1,270) per shift using the method he had discovered.
The ex-employee gave his friends money to place bets on fixtures that had already concluded, and the scam ran for a three-month period between October 2015 until January 2016.
Thompson pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud as a result. He was released on bail and sentencing has been delayed by Dundee Sherriff Court until September 2018 while a social work background report is carried out.
Internal investigations at Coral
According to fiscal depute, Saima Rasheed, Mr Thompson discovered the glitch in Coral’s computer system in the summer of 2015.
She said: “He began to ask customers and friends to place bets in the Dundee and Forfar stores on his behalf and he would provide them with stake money.
“In January 2016 a regional risk assessor with Coral carried out an audit of payout made at the Forfar branch. 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 who was conducting the audit at the branch then discovered a total of 64 bets that had been placed using the glitch, all of which had been processed by Mr Thompson.
A further 55 bets had been placed using the same fault at the Dundee branch, with a loss there totaling £22,800 ($28,968). The loss at the Forfar branch amounted to £17,500 ($22,234).
History of problem gambling
The formal Coral staff member was suspended by the company back in January of 2016 following the investigation and was later questioned by police. The court heard that Thompson had in fact been facing issues with a gambling addiction, that started around the time of the birth of his daughter.
According to Ms Rasheed, Thompson said he “didn’t realize it had got so bad”.
“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.”
The court heard he spent all the money he obtained in gambling machines and casinos. When informed that he was sometimes going away with around £1,000 per shift, Thompson explained he found the flaw and saw it as a way to make back some of the money he had lost to his addiction.
Thompson said when he found the glitch he used it to his advantage, and when asked why he involved customers, he said it was to cover his tracks.
The fiscal depute told the court that the defendant had confessed to finding the glitch, using it to his advantage and admitted involving some Coral customers in the scam.