JOHN ELIAS staked more than $400,000 in bets with one bookmaking agency alone during a seven-month period last year, evidence tendered in court yesterday revealed.
The evidence came from betting analyst Mark Phillips, a police witness. When asked under cross-examination by barrister Ronald Driels, representing Elias, whether he would call Elias a regular punter, Phillips replied: ''I would call him a big punter.''
Elias is appearing at Downing Centre Local Court, charged with attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception in relation to the unsuccessful betting plunge on an NRL game between North Queensland and Canterbury in August last year.
Phillips, from Global Sports Integrity, told the court he analysed the Luxbet account in the name of Elias between March 1 and October 4 last year and broke the bets down by sports to show that racing (horses, harness and greyhound), AFL, cricket, rugby league and football were all bet on by Elias.
The vast majority of the bets were made on the three forms of racing, with $18,897 out of the total of $413,833 being bet on rugby league during that time. The table produced by Phillips showed an overall loss of $21,957 for Elias with Luxbet during that period.
Phillips said in his report that ''the vast majority, 356 from 376, of bets placed'' during the seven-month period ''were single bets'' and that ''the usual pattern of betting for Mr Elias is to place large single bets, mostly on thoroughbred racing, greyhound racing or harness racing''.
Out of the other 20 bets, Phillips said only 11 were multi-leg bets, with the other nine comprising exacta and quinella bets on racing and over-or-under total points bets on rugby league.
The police case argued that it was unusual for Elias to place multi bets, which was the type of bet in which he included a North Queensland penalty goal as the first scoring play - the option that was the subject of the plunge that sparked the police investigation.
Most of the $5500 Elias invested on a Cowboys penalty goal was with TAB Sportsbet in five-legged multi bets that included four legs on teams to win AFL games.
But the defence for Elias argued that it was not that unusual for Elias to place multi bets, or to include a relative long-shot among the legs, similar to the Cowboys penalty goal, and pointed to a multi bet laid by Elias on August 6 last year.
Driels said that was ''a multi with an AFL element, concerning the Western Bulldogs, and an element of a fighter by the name of Wood to beat Anthony Mundine''. Driels said the multi bet was successful and that it returned Elias a dividend of $72,634.80 for an investment of $1037.64.
Phillips said it was his opinion that Elias and others were working either individually or as a team from the same piece of ''information'' when they placed bets on the Cowboys-Bulldogs match.
Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy also gave evidence yesterday and was grilled under cross-examination by Driels, who argued that Murrihy, as an expert in the fields of horse racing and harness racing, was not equipped to provide opinions on betting activities related to rugby league.
Murrihy investigated betting activities on the Cowboys-Bulldogs game on behalf of the NRL. After he had forwarded his report to the
league, police were called in and they decided to launch an investigation into the betting on the match.
Previously, Murrihy had investigated the betting plunge on Melbourne to win the wooden spoon in 2010 on behalf of the league. Driels made the point that the NRL did not take any action as a result of Murrihy's report, as he did of Murrihy agreeing that his observations of betting trends were essentially ''opinions''.
Yesterday, day three of the hearing, ended with police prosecutor Mark Watson giving his closing submission. In it, he included reference to intercepted phone calls between Elias and The Daily Telegraph journalist Phil Rothfield.
Watson wondered whether some comments from Elias in the calls could indicate he was aware something had been arranged for the match.
Watson also referred to Brad Murray, the 21-year-old footballer who was to be a key witness in the police case but who changed his evidence when he appeared in court on Monday. Murray said he had lied when he originally said his manager, Sam Ayoub, had told him the game had been ''set up''.
Ayoub is also charged with attempting to obtain financial advantage by deception.
''He [Murray] said he was under pressure from Parramatta to lie to save his career,'' Watson said.
''If your career is in jeopardy, isn't it because he put bets on as a rugby league player [against NRL rules]?''
Driels will give his closing submission this morning, and it is anticipated magistrate Peter Miszalski will deliver a verdict this afternoon.