Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 14:29 UK

Bookies refuse Irish League bets

Betting slip
Some bookmakers have refused to take bets on certain games

Bookmakers in mid-Ulster have been on the alert after spotting an irregular pattern developing in some end-of-season Irish League matches.

Local bookmakers have decided to suspend betting on some games after punters placed unusually high bets.

Particularly high betting was placed on the outcome of a recent Distillery verses Glenavon match which the unfancied Distillery won 3-1.

Glenavon chairman Adrian Teer said the club has launched an internal inquiry.

A spokesperson for bookmaker Toals said: "This is the third time in three months that a similar thing has occurred involving Glenavon."

Adrian Eastwood of McLeans, said suspicions were aroused by people who normally did not frequent an office wanting to have a single bet of a few hundred pounds on a football team.

Modest bet

"They don't normally come in ... but they have got some information or they have heard something about the team, you just don't know.

"Most people who have a bet on the football like to pick three or four teams and do a modest bet, an accumulator, and in big feature matches people would have a few hundred quid on a team, Manchester United in the FA Cup (for example), but in an Irish League match, it just doesn't happen unless there is something strange happening.

"When matches are competitive, there won't be a problem. At the end of the season certainly when matches are less competitive, then bookmakers are wary. Usually that is reflected in the prices, the prices wouldn't be just as generous."

The suspension on betting, however, does not necessarily mean any offence has been committed.

Punters are often aware there is less at stake at the end of the season, with teams often blooding young players or have experienced players exhausted or injured.

In April last year, leading bookmaker Paddy Power suspended betting on all late-season Irish League games except those involving Linfield and Glentoran.

Paddy Power said at the time there had been an unusually high number of bets placed on teams which had no chance of winning the league title.

"This isn't necessarily something sinister," said the bookmaker.

"People on the ground might know that a key player is or isn't playing or something as simple as that."

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