Insider trading usually refers to the use of privileged information to buy or sell stocks and shares, and to make money in the process.
But workers at Virgin Media found a new twist on an old idea.
The monitored the company’s phone lines to establish voting patterns for each act on the X Factor, which is apparently some sort of tv show.
I guess those who get the least votes are eliminated. Or perhaps those with the most votes are saved. Either way the programme makes money by persuading viewers to call or text their votes at premium rates.
And at Virgin Media they don’t do things by half. The three employees used the information they had gleaned to bet more than £16,000 through the online gambling platform Betfair on which contestants would be eliminated from The X Factor.
But Betfair noticed this unusual betting activity and informed the Gambling Commission, which conducted an investigation leading them to void all of the bets placed.
‘Following a multiagency investigation led by the Gambling Commission, we are satisfied that the bets placed were substantially unfair as the individuals involved had inside information,’ said the Gambling Commission’s director of regulation, Nick Tofiluk.
And Virgin media has since sacked the three staff involved. The company also said that the scam was an “isolated incident” and offered reassurance that the outcome of phone votes through the company’s system had not been affected.
Well, as long as whoever the public fancied most didn’t get voted out then everything is OK.
(Editor’s note – there are other, similar shows to watch on various channels. Many similar shows …)