Dragons’ Ian Nimmo causing a ruck by launching betting website

Ian NimmoNewport Gwent Dragons lock Ian Nimmo has laid bare what he calls the gambling culture at the heart of rugby dressing rooms after launching a betting tips website.

The site, rugbybettingtips.co.uk, appears, at face value, to be a conflict of interest and has had rugby authorities scrambling through their rulebooks with one spokesman admitting to The Rugby Paper that it was “a grey area”.

Nimmo, who joined the Dragons in the summer from Cornish Pirates, however, believes he has not broken any regulations by offering tips on competitions he is not directly involved in.

He said: “My friend had the idea and started it up – I asked around a few people to make sure it’s not infringing on any legal issues – and to the best of my knowledge, it’s ok.

“I won’t comment on competitions I’m playing in but I know a lot of players around at other clubs and you keep in touch.

“It’s been going round the changing room but I don’t need to give the boys the tips – I can just echo their tips and make some money from it, then buy them a beer later.

“It’s something we haven’t really seen before – across sports but especially in rugby. I don’t know how many people have gone through since it launched but a lot of people have been talking to me about it.

“It’s my site – but the main part is putting my face on the front of it to try to help people make some money.

 

“I can’t guarantee that people will win but I always get people asking me after games and I don’t mind helping people make some money off it. I spoke to our head administrator at Dragons – she’s the best person to know what we can and can’t do, but she said that it should be fine.”

While card schools are a stable tradition of away trips, rugby does not have the reputation football has for high-stakes gambling with Wayne Rooney and Eidur Gudjohnsen racking up six-figure debts.

Gambling became such a problem in the England football team under Kevin Keegan that he had to ban all forms of betting.

However, Nimmo revealed last season’s Pirates squad was a hive of laying and selling, especially on their long away trips.

“We had some betting at Pirates,” he said. “We did quite a bit of gambling – you have a lot of time on your hands down in there.

“We’d bet rugby, horses, football – which I really didn’t have a clue about.

“Dave Ward would come up with some really weird bets – Lithuanian U21’s, Japanese football.

“But my best wins usually came down the casino in the early hours of the morning.

“My family used to be into racing so I used to bet horses a lot. My granddad taught me how to read form – and when I was 12 I picked a horse at 20-1 from in front of TV, my dad’s friend took the tip and put £50 on it.

“I had no idea – I wouldn’t have bet it myself – but it came in and he gave me £50. I was buying all the sweets for the boys that week.”

“I have a bet – but I’m just giving my opinion on where teams are and try and make it worthwhile for the punters.

“I know some of the guys at Exeter and I know that they’re bulking up their squad because Rob Baxter’s prioritising the Heineken Cup – so they’ve got a better chance, slightly better, than the odds.

“I look at Leicester and Munster and see what they’ve done in the Heineken in the last ten years, but you use what you know – I’m not saying this will definitely happen but that I think it’s got a better chance than the odds.”

ADAM KNIGHT

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