Bookie: Punish professional players who punt

A HIGHLY-respected former bookmaker and betting expert says any professional footballer placing bets on major sport in this country should be heavily fined for stupidity.

The person, who did not wish to be identified, said he seriously doubted that the latest revelation that several players, including Manly winger David Williams and a yet-to-be-named Melbourne Storm star, had been placing bets on personal accounts, would lift the lid on a major rugby league betting scandal.

Williams is believed to have used his mobile phone to place a number of multi-bets across rugby league, AFL and soccer.

There has been no suggestion of an organised ring, or match fixing.

"In this day and age, any player betting on sport, especially one he is involved on, should be fined for stupidity," the former bookie told APN.

The NRL is expected to confirm Williams and least two other first grade players will be suspended for placing bets on games with sports bookmakers and TAB outlets.

It is understood a spot inspection by the NRL's Integrity Unit uncovered 25 players and officials with such accounts.

Williams is understood to be facing a six-week ban.

"Everyone knows you can't bet," said the odds expert.

"There is a Memorandum of Understanding with all major sporting codes to regulate the industry and prevent any professional or club official having an operating betting account."

Anyone can open a betting account, but it must be verified by the applicant within 90 days.

The application does ask your occupation.

"I would suggest David Williams is a pretty common name," said the former bookmaker.

"People betting in $10 and $20 would not raise any suspicion, but they've obviously been picked up in a spot check that all codes carry out.

"Betting scandals happen every day in some countries, but the industry is heavily regulated in Australia with bookmakers, players and officials."

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