According to the Daily Telgraph, two Sydney punters were yesterday denied a full payout – and threatened with legal action – after they allegedly obtained money deceptively manipulating the tote pools at Gawler Greyhounds races yesterday in scenes reminiscent of the 2005 Lucy’s Light sting.
The Lucy’s Light sting, orchestrated by brothel owner Eddie Hayson and Steve Fletcher; made headline news at the time and reportedly made connections over $700,000, although unofficial estimates put that figure over $1,000,000. The sting works by manipulating tote prices in small greyhound racing pools to create an exaggerated payout price from corporate bookmakers, who all base their prices around final tote starting prices.
The Lucy’s Light sting occurred in a 6 dog field at the now closed Gold Coast greyhound track again over a staying journey, and saw the winning punters drawn in to a contracted legal battle to receive their payouts from bookmakers including South Australia’s Curly Seal.
Yesterdays plunge occured in Race 1 at Gawler greyhound races in South Australia. The lowly 4/5th grade 643m event saw tote pools on the race at UniTab (Qld, SA) and NSW TAB explode to almost 10 times the normal hold, while STAB tote pools were left untouched. STAB held $9,540 on the race which is around the normal hold, while Unitab and the NSW TAB held $47,006 and $46,897 respectively; between 5 to 10 times the normal hold for a Gawler greyhound race.
Betfair pools remained untouched only holding $2,340 on the race.
The target of yesterdays sting, Awesome Ryles played his part in the sting to perfection, leading throughout to win comfortably by 12.25 lengths in the good time of 37.63 and starting $1.25 on track. It was Awesome Ryles’ third win in a row over the track and distance.
Awesome Ryles is owned by Nurioopta based trainer Geoff Ryles, in partneship with his wife and brother.
Geoff spoke to Australian Racing Greyhound this morning and said “we were definitely not behind the betting”.
“My wife usually has $5 on the him every time he runs, but as he was only $1.25 with the bookie, she didn’t even have her normal bet”.
Geoff and family won $560 first place money yesterday, a far cry from the reported $50,000 won by the sting perpetrators.
South Australian Chief Steward Paul Marks was officiating at the Gawler meeting and called Geoff Ryles in after Race 2 to question him regarding the race and the betting.
“Mr Marks wanted to know if we’d spoke to anyone this week about the dog or if anything unusual had occurred. Obviously we weren’t able to help and other than a few offers to buy the dog in the past few months, noone had really called about Awesome Ryles at all” said Geoff.
Geoff also told Australian Racing Greyhound that Mr Marks directed Awesome Ryles be swabbed but that wasn’t until well after the race, breaking with all security protocols regarding swabbing.
“Anyone could have had access to my dog after the race, and until he was swabbed after Race 4, as they didn’t order the swab be taken until after Race 2 and Awesome Ryles had been placed away in his normal race kennel all that time without security or supervision, and people coming and going from the kennel block all the time”.
“Even after the said they wanted to swab him, they still didn’t place him in a secure “swab kennel” were noone could get to him” Geoff said.
“I told them I was unhappy with the procedure and made note of it on the swabbing paperwork”.
“I don’t imagine anything will come from it, but the break from protocol does worry me as it is my licence on the line” Geoff said.
In the final wash-up Awesome Ryles paid $1.25 on track and $1.30 on STab, but $3.20 on UniTab and a whopping $9.50 on the NSW TAB. The sting operators acheived this by placing approximately $40,000 each on UniTab and the NSW TAB, spread across the other 5 greyhounds, excluding Awesome Ryles; effectively pushing out Awesome Ryles’ price.
Looking at the tote pools it becomes obvious that in an attempt to try and “cover their tracks” the sting perpetrators have varied the amounts they placed on each greyhound, placing approximately $6,000 on some, while others were the subject of $8,000 bets.This differed from the Lucy’s Light Sting where even amounts were placed on each runner.
Despite the attempt, and perceived success of the sting, it does seem the sting has missed it’s target by quite some way while still netting the perpetrators a good sum. Although they acheived a $9.50 payout on NSW TAB, the sting perpetrators would’ve liked the UniTab dividend to be much higher than the $3.20, as most corporate bookmakers payout based around the second highest tote price.
The majority of corporate bookmakers in Australia payout a starting price tote based on their own algorithm, but basically it is either slightly better than the second highest tote price, or slightly better than the tote price of the largest tote pool. And of course no matter how much money is invested with a corporate bookmaker, that money does not affect the “real” tote prices unless the bookmaker “lays-off” in to the tote pools.
To give an indication of the effect the sting had on corporate prices, here’s the prices the most popular corporate bookmakers paid out on Awesome Ryles yesterday :
- Centrebet – $3.20
- Iasbet – $3.22
- Sportsbet – $2.40 (place dividend)
- Sportingbet – $3.20
Colin Tidy’s Betchoice was one of the worst affected, paying out at $9.50 on Awesome Ryles.
Betezy, who were one of the hardest hit from the Lucy’s Light sting, paid out at only $1.30.
Also in contrast to the Lucy’s Light Sting, those behind the Awesome Ryles Sting seem to have operated under the “taken a little from a lot” theory. By placing smaller bets in the $5,000 range across alot of bookmakers, rather than hitting one or two bookmakers selectively for large amounts. Consequently only bookmakers like Betchoice, who paid out at $9.50 are suffering any real “pain” from the sting, but most corporate bookmakers are remaining tight-lipped about their exposure to this Awesome Ryles Sting.
It has been reported by the Daily Telegraph that because of the blatant manipulation, some betting agencies like Betchoice have refused to settle on the full amount and have threatened legal action, similar to what occurred with Bookmaker Curly Seal and the Lucy’s Light sting.
Meanwhile Geoff Ryles is still waiting for his sling….”lol – no…we haven’t received anything from those behind the sting……..yet”.