Virgin Media employees had been abusing phone vote data

Three employees of Virgin Media have been sacked for abusing internal phone vote data to bet on results of The X Factor.

The staff members had been betting on the outcomes of the weekly eliminations of the 2010 show, which was eventually won by Matt Cardle.

The Gambling Commission was alerted to suspicious activity by online bookmaker Betfair.

A statement from the organisation read: “We are satisfied that the bets placed were substantially unfair as the individuals involved had inside information. We have worked closely with all the bodies involved to ensure that those individuals do not profit from their activity and that appropriate action has been taken to prevent a recurrence of such activity in the future.”

The ratio of phone votes is kept secret during the show’s on-air run, in the interests of fairness. But two of the staffers used privileged access to monitor the number of phone votes for each contestants, with a third placing the bets.

As a result £16,000-worth of bets have been declared void – the first time such powers have been used under the Gambling Act 2005, reports BBC News.

Virgin Media co-operated with the Gambling Commission and Ofcom to look into the case. Their own statement read: “We can confirm this was an isolated incident where three individuals were found to have misused their legitimate access to internal data to identify the volume of calls being made.”

It continued: “At no point was any individual customer data shared and the outcome of the phone votes was not affected. However, we have since introduced additional monitoring to our systems to ensure this cannot happen again.”

Meanwhile, in other The X Factor news, Noel Gallagher has reportedly rejected Simon Cowell’s offer for him to join the judging panel.