The Scottish Football Association (SFA) imposed an eight-match ban on Kane Hester for violations of its betting rules after the Montrose player admitted to the betting offenses.
Player Admitted to Offenses
Hester, 27, joined Montrose in a three-year deal in May after scoring 29 goals in 48 appearances for Elgin City last season, having spent four-and-a-half seasons there. He was charged with violations of the SFA betting regulations over the course of five seasons from 2014 to 2019 while also being an Arbroath player.
The SFA regulation prohibits all players, coaches and club staff from betting on any matches stating that “no club, official, team official or other member of team staff, player match official or other person under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA shall gamble in any way on a football match.”
According to the complaint, Hester violated the SFA betting rules by placing bets on multiple occasions between August 13, 2014, and April 27, 2019, including on both mentioned dates, and after admitting to the offenses, was suspended in full.
The striker was also recently involved in a match-fixing court case but was cleared of match-fixing fraud at Dundee Sheriff Court before joining Montrose.
Receiving Treatment Considered Mitigating Factor
By punishing Hester, the SFA joined the English Football Association (FA) in its determination to oust betting for players, coaches and other staff. In May, the FA served an eight-month ban on Brentford striker Ivan Toney.
Toney, who will not be allowed to play or train with the team until January 17, 2024, was punished for 232 breaches of the FA betting regulation carried out between February 25, 2017, and January 23, 2021. During that period, Toney represented four clubs, Scunthorpe United, Wigan Athletic, Peterborough United and Brentford, and on 13 of these occasions, he had placed bets against his team.
Toney was also ordered to pay a fine of £50,000 ($62,000) and was warned about his future conduct. The punishment was even lengthier initially, 11 months, but was reduced after the FA heard the player was battling with gambling addiction and considered him receiving treatment a significant mitigating factor.
Also in May, Accrington Stanley defender, Mitch Clark, received betting violations charges by the FA for placing 312 bets on football matches between February 8, 2022, and March 10, 2023, and two weeks later, Accrington Stanley released the 24-year-old promising player until the FA decides upon his punishment.
Gambling addiction was one of the main reasons forcing a total of 35 players to undergo rehabilitation last season, according to information released by the UK Players’ Foundation last month.