- Eight Forum members appointed to join Chair Simon Rowlands
- First meeting to take place on Friday 4 September
- Dedicated twitter, email and website established to encourage ongoing input from the betting public
Following an extensive recruitment process, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), in conjunction with inaugural Chair Simon Rowlands, have announced the members who will comprise the first Horseracing Bettors Forum.
Eight members from well over 100 applicants have been selected to represent the betting public by the BHA and Simon Rowlands. The Forum members comprise a diverse range of ages, backgrounds and approaches to betting and horseracing and were chosen based on initial written applications followed by discussions with the Forum’s Chair.
The Forum will hold its first meeting on Friday 4 September at the BHA’s offices in High Holborn, London, and will then meet on a quarterly basis. The purpose of the Forum is to deliver proposals and recommendations to the BHA and the BHA Racing and Betting Group for developments to British Racing that would be of benefit to the wider community that bets on British Racing. It will also consider any proposals provided to it by the BHA for feedback on how they would be received by people betting on British Racing.
Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the BHA, said:
“I’d firstly like to thank everyone who applied. The number and quality of the applications was outstanding. Simon had a difficult job narrowing the applications down to this select group and I know he is hopeful of remaining in touch with, and calling on the knowledge of, all of the applicants.
“I’m very pleased with the makeup of the Forum and welcome the members. They represent a wide range of views and approaches to betting, from professional to recreational punters. These are people whose passion for the sport, and betting, will lead to them giving up their time on a semi-regular basis to represent the betting public for no remuneration – that is greatly appreciated and to be applauded.
“We expect to be challenged by the Forum and we welcome this. We are committed, where possible, to acting on the Forum’s recommendations if a development which will genuinely be of benefit to the betting public is identified. It is a great opportunity for the sport, and something that should put us, as the regulator, more in tune with our customers.”
The formation of the Forum does not preclude members of the betting public from continuing to have their say through the initiative. A twitter account (@HBFBritain) and dedicated email address (BettingForum@britishhorseracing.com) have been established with the purpose of gathering ideas or proposals which might be discussed at Forum meetings, on an ongoing basis. A web page has also been established (britishhorseracing.com/bha/horseracing-bettors-forum/). The twitter account and web page will also keep the public up to date with matters discussed by the Forum.
Simon Rowlands, Chair of the Horseracing Bettors Forum, said:
“The response to the application process was large and overwhelmingly positive: all of the candidates showed merit. I would like to thank those who took the trouble to write in, and particularly those who have already indicated they would still like to be called upon for their views and feedback from time to time.
“It is important that the Forum represents as many of the diverse interests in betting on horseracing in Britain as is reasonably possible and that it is also seen to be engaged with its public. I believe this has been achieved with the panel chosen and with the means of communication that have been arranged.
“The eight other Forum members bring a lot of skills to the table, not just from the world of betting, and I am looking forward greatly to working with them in the months and years ahead to come up with observations, recommendations and solutions that will hopefully benefit the betting public as well as the sport of Horseracing.”
The Forum Members
GLENN ALCOE, 42, Surrey, is a full-time punter with a particular interest in exotic and pool betting, and with how betting on British racing measures up against betting in other racing jurisdictions. He is also an award-winning blogger and is active on social media and internet forums.
MATT BISOGNO, 43, London, is a former software development project manager and consultant who is now managing director of the popular online racing community geegeez.co.uk. A small-time racehorse owner, his betting is data-driven and he has contributed to previous BHA focus groups about betting.
JASON BRAUTIGAM, 43 , Chester, has worked at a senior level at Ascot racecourse and the Tote, including as Managing Director of the latter. A regular bettor, including on other sports, he has lobbied for the creation of a body like the HBF and brings an in-depth knowledge of international betting. He is now Chief Executive at British Dressage.
QUEN EMMENES, 35, Berkshire, works in professional services and risk analytics. A casual punter and regular racegoer, he grew up in South Africa, where he cut his betting teeth, but has lived in Britain since 2007 and combines a keen interest in horseracing with the same in several other sports.
SCOTT FERGUSON, 44, Surrey, is an Australian who has lived in Britain since 2004. A lifelong racing and betting fan, and champion of punter education, he created the Education department at Betfair. He has been a wagering industry consultant since 2009. He hosts sportismadeforbetting.com, a popular blog which showcases the work of the public on racing and other sports, both in Britain and internationally.
JAMES PROSSER, 24, Swansea, is an owner and director of MyRacing.com, a site for horseracing punters which has nearly 100,000 Twitter followers. Previously primarily a football bettor, he has concentrated on horseracing since gaining a Law degree three years ago and bets daily on the sport while owning shares in a number of horses.
SIMON ROWLANDS, (Chair), 52, Sheffield, has worked most of his life at Timeform, where he is Head of R&D, but was briefly a betting-shop manager, the racing editor of a sports newspaper and made most of his living from backing horses. A well-known blogger, he was award-nominated in 2014 for work on sectional timing, and for exposes on race-distance measurements and starting-price irregularities.
TANYA STEVENSON, 44, Surrey, is from a bookmaking family and has many years of experience in the betting industry, with her current job as betting expert on Channel 4 Racing bringing her regularly into contact with the punting and race-going public. She has worked on BHA groups, Tattersalls Committee and is a judge of the Betting Shop Manager of The Year.
STEVEN TILLEY, 55, Gloucestershire, has been a racing fan since he was a teenager and a member at Cheltenham racecourse for 30 years. He has written about betting for magazines and spoken at betting workshops, and mixes with punters across the spectrum from those in it purely for fun to those who take it very seriously. He has been a local councillor for the last 25 years.
In addition, the Forum will be calling on the input of three Expert Advisors, who will not be required to attend meetings but who will be asked for their viewpoint on the matters to be discussed at those meetings.
These individuals are: Rory Jiwani (blogger and former media representative for Stan James, now returned to sports TV production); Tony Calvin (formerly Racing Post and Betfair, now betting consultant and media freelancer); and Neil Channing (former bookmaker and odds compiler, now a professional punter and poker player).”
Notes to Editors
1. Forum members shall serve for an initial term of up to three years. It is anticipated that Forum members shall not serve for more than two terms. The Forum will meet on a quarterly basis.
2. The Chair may invite other individuals to contribute to Forum discussions at his discretion, subject to any conflicts of interest being identified and acknowledged by the Forum in respect of any discussions such individuals engage in.
3. The BHA shall provide administrative and secretarial assistance to the Forum, but attendance at Forum meetings shall be at the discretion and invitation of the Chair.