All bets on Cowboys game face scrutiny
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.