On Tuesday 29th January 2013 former Director of Integrity Services, Compliance and Licensing Paul Scotney represented the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) at a Parliamentary Select Committee pre-legislative hearing into the draft Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Bill published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The Bill, published in December 2012, would legislate that any overseas based remote betting operator intending to transact with, or advertise to, British customers would require a Gambling Commission licence.
British Racing supports the Bill which redefines the jurisdiction of licensing to the Point of Consumption (the location at which the bet is placed) and will strengthen the sport’s integrity arrangements by mandating all operators to share information of suspicious betting patterns with the BHA.
The Bill will also give greater consumer protection to British customers who bet on our sport, by ensuring they have the same level of protection regardless of which operator they place a bet with.
The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee will now continue with its pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Gambling (Licensing & Advertising) Bill through further evidence sessions, before publishing its findings in a report. The Bill is then expected to begin its formal legislative process in the next session of Parliament, with the Government’s intention being that all remote gambling is licensed at the Point of Consumption by December 2014.
The below is a selection of key extracts from Paul Scotney’s evidence, transcribed from the hearing.
THE PRINCIPLE BEHIND THE BILL
“You cannot investigate corruption in sport unless you can get to the people who are behind it.”
“If a betting operator offshore sees that one of our events is not right because of suspicious betting, then it should be right that the sport’s governing body is told as soon as possible.”
THE CURRENT SITUATION
“We are [currently] reliant on voluntary arrangements, or in some cases we just don’t get [information] at all.”
“We have a regime that is mixed – in some cases we get the data we need and in some we don’t….only one [major] betting organisation has to share data as a matter of its licence, and that company … is Bet365.”
“The BHA had to set up its own integrity structure because if we didn’t do it no-one else was going to do it for us…..We have people at British Horseracing who are live time monitoring the [betting] markets every day.”
THE EFFECT OF THE PROPOSED BILL
“If the Bill has a condition of licence..[that operators must adhere to Licence Condition 15.1] .. it means that the betting company will have to share directly, with the sport’s governing body, any suspicious betting that they see.”
“If any online company saw suspicious betting, they would have to share it directly with the sport’s governing body – and that then gives the sport’s governing body the chance to do something before the event.”
Paul Scotney departed his role as Director of Integrity Services, Compliance and Licensing at the BHA on 14th December 2012, but remains a part of the BHA’s ability to protect the sport from corruption, providing advice on investigations and strategy as well as wider representative services. He gave evidence alongside Tim Lamb from the Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA) and the Simon Barker from the Professional Players Federation (PPF). All three were representing the Sports Betting Group (SGB – http://www.sportsbettinggroup.org/) formed out of a recommendation of the Parry Report from a cross-section of the British Sporting industry to co-ordinate and represent sport on betting related policy.
During the evidence Tim Lamb of the SRA emphasised the importance of appropriate information sharing arrangements with betting operators to upholding the integrity of sport, stating that:
“When there is suspicious or corrupt betting, it can do untold damage to the reputation of the sport.”
Mr Lamb also highlighted that:
“The biggest victim of [betting related corruption] is sport itself and the people who follow it … It is sport that has to pick up the pieces. “