X Factor has been caught up in another betting scandal after it was revealed that three staff placed £16,000 bets on the show’s outcome after checking the volume of calls placed for each contestant.
The X Factor employees were caught when online bookmaker Betfair became suspicious and launched an investigation into the dodgy bets.
Three Virgin Media employees, believed to have used insider knowledge of voting patterns to bet £16,000 on the X Factor every week, have now been suspended. They will not be claiming the winnings from the bets.
The Gambling Commission declared the bets void and said it was “satisfied the bets placed were substantially unfair.”
“We have worked to ensure those individuals do not profit and that action has been taken to prevent a recurrence,” the commission said.
Virgin Media was hasty to dismiss the incident as “isolated” and to reassure X Factor viewers that the competition was not affected.
“At no point was any individual customer data shared and the outcome of the phone votes was not affected,” Virgin Media said.
Betfair, which picked up on the scam added: “Our integrity team is able to closely monitor bets and acts accordingly on the rare occasion that we see anything suspicious.”
However, around 100 punters are believed to have been affected and may receive thousands of pounds in compensation.
The Gambling Commission’s “voiding order”, which allows customers to claim back or seek legal redress, is a first in the industry. It means that the Virgin Media employees may face legal action from gamblers.
This isn’t the first time ITV’s X Factor has been caught up in scandal. Previously, the show it was revealed that voting results were leaked and viewers were over-charged.
Meanwhile Noel Gallagher apparently turned down Simon Cowell’s offer of becoming a judge on the X Factor.
Despite being offered £1 million for the role, Gallagher told Cowell that he was not interested in cash at the moment and that it was his “duty” to stop his brother, Liam’s, band, Beady Eye, from “stinking up the bottom of the charts.”