Australian Turf Club Officials Disqualified for Betting on the Races They Officiated

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Australian Turf Club were revealed to have wagered on the races and were subsequently disqualified from racing.

The scandal, which was growing Down Under over ATC managers participating in betting, breaking Australian gambling laws, draws to a close. Murray Conallin, Australian Turf Club betting service manager, and Shaun Lyall, racing clerk, were disqualified from racing for 18 months and 2 years respectively as the result of their actions.

The decision came on Monday, after the pair was found to have placed hundreds of wagers on races, where they could actually decide the outcome. Their actions were brought to light after investigating apprentices, jockeys and integrity-based racing officials at NSW racing betting organizations. The pair was relieved of their duties last week and faces the hearings yesterday.

Reactions of the governing body

Two ATC managers were disqualified from racing for breaching Australian gambling laws

• The pair was found betting on the races they were officiating

• 2-year and 18-months sentences were given out

• Both admitted the wrong doing and felt remorse

Ray Murrihy, chief steward at Racing NSW, revealed that Conallin and Lyall were betting for at least 20 months at land-based and online sportsbooks in Australia. At the time they officiated several ATC meetings being the judge or assistant judge at various races. Naturally, their activity puts shade on the whole industry in the country.

The chief steward was quoted by Australian gambling news: “There has to be a deterrent to such activity and they knew what they were doing was against the rules. This incident is a black eye for the ATC, a black eye for racing officials and a black eye for the confidence of punters that need to be able to think that the judging of races is done by independent people free of pecuniary interests on the result.”

The investigation

Shaun Lyall made 291 bets, the investigators revealed, one of them was laying a horse on a betting exchange. Murray Conallin has made less – 71 wagers, but all of them were illegal of course. There’s no minimum sentence for these offenses prescribed by the regulations, but there’s the Damien Oliver precedent of 2012.

Stewards had gone through a couple of dozen races, decided by a half head or less, where the pair were officiating and held bets on the races. All of the photo-finishes were correctly judged. Murrihy said: “If they had not been they would have been looking at charges under the cheating in gambling laws.”

Lyall was the first to be relieved of duty on November 11, while Conallin contacted Murrihy himself two days later and admitted to the illegal activity. The inquiry for the case was attended by Colin Tuck, ATC racing manager, he was fulfilling a role of an observer in what was a two-hour meeting.

The decision

While the ATC didn’t make any comments about the case, it’s almost certain that Lyall and Conallin will lose their jobs, and will not be allowed to enter a racecourse in the near future. The pair’s future will be discussed on Tuesday at a special meeting of the Club’s officials.

Both Lyall and Conallin pleaded guilty to chargers under Australian Rule of racing 175A. This piece of regulation concerns with conduct prejudicial to image and interests of racing. They also pleaded guilty to AR39, stating that they had “acted as an ATC Official at race meetings when they held pecuniary interests in races by virtue of bets placed on such events.”

When deciding what penalties to give to the pair, stewards were considering that Lyall had been employed in his position for eight years, and the fact that he has admitted the wrongdoing and felt remorse. Lyall also stated he will voluntary seek counseling on problem gambling.

Lyall received 2-year disqualification, breaching AR39 and another year for breaching 175A rule. The disqualifications will be served concurrently, meaning he will only be disqualified for 2 years in total. He may return to the racecourses not earlier that November 17, 2016.

Murray Conallin has wagered on fewer occasions than Lyall, and thus received a lighter sentence. He also had 8 years of experience as an official, admitted his guilt and felt remorse, factors that all played into his smaller punishment.

Conallin got 18 months of disqualification from racing for breaching AR39, and 12 months of disqualification for the breach of 175A. Both sentences will be served concurrently and he may return to a racecourse not earlier than May 17, 2016.

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