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Bookies uncover Irish betting scam

BOOKMAKERS in the Midlands have uncovered a betting scam involving greyhounds running at Ireland's premier race track. It seems that backers in Mullingar and other towns had devised an ingenious little earner requiring just two elements - a couple of mobile telephones and the efficient running of the races at Ringsend.

BOOKMAKERS in the Midlands have uncovered a betting scam involving greyhounds running at Ireland's premier race track.

It seems that backers in Mullingar and other towns had devised an ingenious little earner requiring just two elements - a couple of mobile telephones and the efficient running of the races at Ringsend.

It should be stated that while prominent greyhound owners were involved, employees of Shelbourne Park and Bord na gCon had no hand or part in the ruse which saw the bookies relieved of thousands of Euro before the matter came to light.

A member of one bookmaking firm was suspended in the short term while employers looked into possible collusion. It was a precautionary move and it has all been put down to sharp practice on the part of customers.

Simply worked, it involves a customer presenting himself in a Midlands betting shop before, say, the 8.00 at Shelbourne Park. His docket includes the time of the race and the staked amount, usually around ?200.

Missing is the name of the dog or the trap number. The customer then draws the attention of the cashier to this omission. The docket is handed back to the customer.

This all happens around 8.00. Within seconds, the customer in the Midlands shop has received a text message (from a spectator at Shelbourne Park). The message is simply the number of the winner of the 8.00. This is then written on the docket.

The whole process has just taken seconds; but it worked on a list of occasions before the pattern became too obvious.

There are naturally punters in the Midlands who are genuinely backing dogs at Shelbourne Park with no intention of defrauding bookmakers.

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But the shop bookies are getting nervous of laying bets at any Irish tracks. Ladbrokes recently ceased taking bets on graded races at Harold's Cross and other firms are likely to follow.

It is certainly a poor reflection on the integrity of Irish greyhound racing when one of the sport's biggest sponsors feels obliged to take this course of action.

Ladbrokes say that they had been unhappy about the pattern of betting in many graded races at Harold's Cross. They will continue to take off-course bets on open races at the Dublin tracks.

It is known that some Bord na gCon members are unhappy, too, about the sport's declining image and believe that meetings are not held on a sufficiently regular basis to counteract the image problem.


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