NSW police probe NRL awards bet
New South Wales police are investigating whether a punter who knew Craig Bellamy had been voted Dally M Coach of the Year days before it was announced used the inside information to pull off a betting sting.
The Brisbane Times reports that a day after the Sydney Morning Herald revealed the NRL’s integrity unit had referred complaints from bookmakers about suspect wagering on the award to the police, law enforcement agencies have established a strike force to probe the incident.
Persons with knowledge of Dally M award winners before rugby league’s night of nights are forced to sign agreements about keeping the information confidential or face criminal prosecution.
Some of the NRL’s wagering partners alerted head office of their concerns, which has sparked the police investigation into one of the evening’s major awards.
Bookmakers have told the Herald Bellamy was backed into as short as $1.80 favouritism to win the Dally M Coach of the Year despite opening at a much larger price.
The Melbourne coach beat off Canberra’s Ricky Stuart, Manly’s Des Hasler and Parramatta’s Brad Arthur to win the award, which was already controversial when the NRL’s official Twitter account accidentally promoted the result about 20 minutes before Bellamy stepped on stage.
Bookmakers shut markets well in advance of the actual Dally M awards starting.
NRL integrity unit on the case
The NRL’s integrity unit employs a wagering analyst who works with Australia’s major gambling companies to monitor betting trends on NRL matches and related products.
“The New South Wales Police Force is investigating information into reported betting activity surrounding an ward for the National Rugby League competition,” a New South Wales Police spokesperson said.
“Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad have established Strike Force Mirrabei to investigate the matter.
“As investigations are ongoing, no further information is available.”
The Dally M awards are a popular betting medium for many bookmakers and markets on this year’s winner opened before the Eels-Bulldogs season opening on Thursday night.
James Tedesco, who won last year’s award, has been installed as favourite to go back-to-back.
Other markets such as the Dally M Coach of the Year are only framed in the weeks leading up to the ceremony and hold far less money than the major player award.
Meanwhile, Betfair has announced it remains in a deadlock with the NRL over a new deal on gambling taxes after one of the country’s most popular wagering platforms didn’t take match bets on the competition’s first match.
Betfair didn’t provide a market for punters to test their wares against each other for the Eels-Bulldogs clash after all other bookmakers eventually signed integrity agreements.
The NRL has been debating with bookmakers over how much money the code should receive from gambling taxes, but Betfair has driven the hardest bargain and as yet refused to sign a deal.
It has not offered a rugby league product on any NRL pre-season matches.
The company said a new agreement was a “high priority” and hoped the matter would be “resolved soon”.