It hasn’t been a good month in the Nikolic household.
Only weeks after jockey Danny Nikolic was disqualified from horse racing for two years for allegedly threatening chief race steward Terry Bailey, his brother, John Nikolic, a one time horse trainer and current gambler, has been banned from the Crown Casino in Melbourne by Victoria’s Chief Commissioner.
The decision to ban John Nikolic stemmed from his suspected involvement in the same scandal his brother is actually also embroiled in, one that involves fixing a race last year at Cranbourne involving the horse Smoking Aces. Both brothers are currently being investigated by the Purana organised crime taskforce over their suspected involvement in the scandal.
According to Australian publication The Age, Danny Nikolic also became the first person to be banned from a casino by the Chief Commissioner since former police chief Christine Nixon issued similar bans on a number of so-called gangsters from Crown Casino. Now, it turns out that the ban has become a family affair as Danny’s brother, John, has been issued the same ban by the Chief Commissioner.
Apparently, John Nikolic’s alleged involvement in the Smoking Aces scandal stemmed from organizing betting proceedings before the race after having discussed Smoking Aces’ chance of winning with his brother Danny. The jockey then allegedly manipulated the outcome of that race, going so far as to pay $3,000 to fellow jockey Mark Zahra to ride his own horse in a manner that would be advantageous to Smoking Aces.
The supposed insider tip and the subsequent race manipulation netted the brothers significant winnings, with some of the proceeds from the betting, at least according to police investigation, involved a TAB just outside Crown Casino.
Now, both brothers are in hot waters and it certainly isn’t looking too good for the brothers Nikolic. If they do end up getting charged for the race-fixing allegations they’re facing, casino bans could become the least of their problems.