All bets on Cow­boys game face scrutiny

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Janet Fife-Yeomans in Syd­ney

IN­TER­STATE and over­seas pun­ters are un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion as po­lice widen their search into the NRL bet­ting scan­dal.

De­tec­tive Su­per­in­ten­dent Ken Finch, who is lead­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, warned that po­lice had not ruled out fur­ther charges or more ar­rests over the bet­ting plunge on the North Queens­land Cow­boys-Can­ter­bury Bull­dogs game last year.

The stun­ning de­vel­op­ment that the al­leged bet­ting scam could be wider than ini­tially feared comes as the NSW Law Re­form Com­mis­sion yes­ter­day re­leased a pa­per which rec­om­mended a max­i­mum 10-year jail sen­tence for cheat­ing and gam­bling.

The pa­per also can­vasses t he need f or a Na­tional Sports In­tegrity Unit.

Supt Finch said he could not com­ment on charges al­ready laid but said po­lice would scru­ti­nise a num­ber of bets placed on a penalty goal be­ing the first score in the g a me in Townsville on Au­gust 21 last year.

They in­cluded bets placed by peo­ple in NSW with book­mak­ers out­side the state as well as bets placed by peo­ple liv­ing in other states and over­seas.

‘ ‘ Po­lice are still go­ing through bet­ting records,’’ Supt Finch said.

Supt Finch’s Firearms and Or­gan­ised Crime Squad in­cludes the elite Casino and Rac­ing In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit.

‘‘ At this stage I’m quite con­fi­dent that the main peo­ple in­volved have been iden­ti­fied,’’ he said.

‘‘ We are tak­ing it ex­tremely se­ri­ously. It is a ma­jor in­ves­ti­ga­tion and it is tak­ing up a lot of time and re­sources.’’

NSW Po­lice are al­ready work­ing with a num­ber of other law en­force­ment agen­cies in­clud­ing the Queens­land Po­lice and NSW Crime Com­mis­sion.

Supt Finch said not all the so-called ‘‘ ex­otic’’ bets placed on the penalty goal were be­ing treated as sus­pi­cious but po­lice were scru­ti­n­is­ing all bet­ting records.

‘‘ There are peo­ple who will gam­ble on flies crawl­ing up a wall so not ev­ery­one who placed a bet on ( the goal) is un­der sus­pi­cion,’’ he said.

Dur­ing the game in ques­tion, Bull­dogs front rower Ryan Tandy was pe­nalised af­ter two min­utes.

North Queens­land hooker An­thony Watts de­cided to go for a try in­stead of a penalty.

Watts’s de­ci­sion meant the pun­ters who stood to col­lect more than $ 300,000 on the nov­elty bet, missed out.

Tandy, 29, has pleaded not guilty to four charges of ly­ing to the Casino and Rac­ing In­ves­ti­ga­tion Unit dur­ing in­ter­views on Jan­uary 20 and Fe­bru­ary 2.

Tandy’s man­ager, Sam Ay­oub, 49, and for­mer player John Elias, 48, have been charged with at­tempt­ing to de­fraud a bet­ting agency. They are due to ap­pear at Down­ing Cen­tre Lo­cal Court on April 7.

Two Townsville men, in­clud­ing bar owner Joel Soli­nas, a friend of Ay­oub’s, have been spo­ken to by po­lice. The men placed bets on the penalty goal the day be­fore the game.

There i s no sug­ges­tion ei­ther man has done any­thing il­le­gal.

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