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AFL sets the standard on player betting investigations

Australian football has become the benchmark for sporting bodies policing betting by players. Integrity agreements with betting firms allow them to monitor betting activity, particularly when it comes to names on their special list. Of course, it is never going to stop it completely if the players have half a brain (read further to see how clueless some of them are), but it gives the league great power to detect and investigate suspicious betting activity.

Heath Shaw suspended for eight weeks for betting on Collingwood game

SHAMED Collingwood premiership stars Heath Shaw and Nick Maxwell have expressed regret over a betting scandal that has rocked the AFL ladder leader.

The pair copped heavy punishments for breaking the AFL's strict anti-gambling rules after an investigation found they shared inside information with friends and family.

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The betting scam involved the information that Maxwell was to play in the forward line against Adelaide and not in his usual backline position.

Shaw, who was betting at a TAB on the day before the match, passed the information to his friend and gave him $10 to bet on Maxwell to kick the first goal at 100-1.

His friend added his own $10 to the bet, and placed other bets, with another friend, totalling $15.

Maxwell told his family he would start in the forward line. This information was used by his brother and his wife's mother to place bets totalling $85.

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AFL operations manager Adrian Anderson said an "extensive investigation" uncovered the betting offences.

"As a result of our routine checks and liaison with bookmakers, we became aware there had been a plunge on Nick Maxwell and he had come in from 100-1 to 25-1," he said.

"As a result of the information-sharing agreements and the power of investigation, our investigators were able to follow the money trail.

"It's very important to note that nothing that any player has done here has been with the intent to influence any outcome within the contest."

A Tabcorp source said the betting giant helped the AFL investigation with information that included CCTV footage of Shaw at the TAB when the bets were placed.



In reality, it was all fairly innocent, but Shaw being on camera demonstrates that some of thee blokes aren't too bright. Since then, the wowsers have come out calling for a ban on exotic bets on games - an argument which was dismissed out of hand by league officials - a rare bunch of sporting officials who actually understand the gambling business.

League won't ban exotic bets

THE AFL would be courting "a disaster" if it banned exotic bets such as the punts that plunged Collingwood into a firestorm this week.

General manager football operations Adrian Anderson said the AFL had considered banning exotic bets - such as who kicks the first goal of a match - but added: "It would be a disaster. It would push betting underground".



Of course, any betting integrity arrangement is only as strong as its weakest link, which is usually cash wagering. But if players want to show their faces, or people want to have abnormally large cash bets under a CCTV camera, then the task of investigating is easier than it should be.

Cash punters real test in Dumb & Dumber sequel

IT seemed such a slick operation at first glance. The full force of the AFL integrity department stalked the money trail and was able to draw to a conclusion a three-month forensic investigation of extraordinary meticulousness.

The AFL's general manager of football operations, Adrian Anderson, said his team had hunted down the money droppings Hansel and Gretel-like, talked to suspects and associates, perhaps even lay in wait, camouflaged and hidden, luring their suspects to a grisly end.

Then the final piece, so intricately traced, fell into place. Heath Shaw was so bloody dumb he was in the TAB when his mate placed the bet on his behalf.



Sporting bodies around the world would love to have as much transparency as the AFL with wagering.

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