09 Mar 2004 Pre-2014 Releases

BHB Chief Executive Greg Nichols said today:

“Recent events have drawn further attention to the new and very real threat to racing’s integrity posed by betting exchanges, which leave the sport more vulnerable than ever before to malpractice. The current law, which did not envisage the creation of exchanges, is now deficient and must be tightened in the forthcoming Gambling Bill as a matter of urgency.

“Government has a responsibility to enact legislation which restricts the opportunity for Racing’s integrity to be undermined.

“Exchanges have opened the door for unlicensed, anonymous individuals, whether in Britain or anywhere in the world, to profit directly from a horse losing. After a straightforward registration process, people can make money from horses not winning. The result is increasing reports of irregular betting patterns relating to losing horses. These are having a damaging impact on Racing’s reputation.

“Racing’s regulator, the Jockey Club, is reliant on voluntary agreements with certain betting exchanges in order to try to assess what is happening on exchanges. But voluntary agreements are not enough.

“Government must, as it proposes to do in the Gambling Bill, change the law to empower the new Gambling Commission to operate with strong powers of investigation and sanction. Even the very best information is futile unless accompanied by the ability to act decisively upon it.

“We have recommended to the Joint Scrutiny Committee on the draft Gambling Bill and to Government that:

• Recreational layers on a Betting Exchange should be distinguished from non recreational layers by the size and/or frequency of their laying over a specified time period whereby non recreational layers would be deemed to be in the business of betting and would require an appropriate licence, awarded on the basis of a “fit and proper” test.

• The Gambling Commission should be given powers of investigation and audit to uncover abuse.

• The Gambling Commission should be given sufficient powers of sanction to deter wrong-doing including, but not necessarily limited to, the withdrawal of licences from non recreational users.”