HRA ANNOUNCES LATEST STEPS TO ENHANCE THE INTEGRITY OF RACING
Published: Wednesday 04 Jul 2007
The HRA has announced the latest steps by British Horseracing to enhance the integrity of the sport.
This announcement follows a lengthy industry-wide consultation into “inside information” involving trainers, jockeys, owners, bookmakers, exchanges and journalists on a Working Group, set up by the HRA. The main objectives for the Working Group were to agree a definition of “inside information” and look at what is and is not acceptable use, as well as reviewing the rules and the general approach to tackling these issues. The findings of the Working Group, chaired by Paul Scotney, the HRA’s Director of Security, are published today. The Appendices to this release are also available to view at britishhorseracing.com
There is a massive amount of information flowing inside horseracing. The Working Group was clear that this is not an issue in itself, but there is a need for people in the industry to understand what is and is not acceptable use of that information, and where to go for guidance. Passing inside information for reward is not acceptable. Passing inside information, even without reward, could also be a serious offence if it is used for a corrupt betting purpose.
The Working Group had to consider the backdrop of increased opportunity to profit particularly from negative information through betting exchanges. As a general principle, passing negative information outside the horse’s connections is not acceptable. The findings are that the current approach is generally right, but that a number of changes should be made, particularly to introduce a focus on training and education to complement the deterrence and detection work.
The Group strongly endorsed the need for rules, disciplinary action and sanctions to prevent and deter anyone seeking to profit from using inside information for corrupt betting purposes. It also commended Racing’s investment in the HRA Security Department to detect and deter attacks on the sport, working closely with betting operators and, more recently, the Gambling Commission.
Another important factor is that cheating connected with betting becomes a specific criminal offence in September 2007, when section 42 of the Gambling Act 2005 becomes law.
The HRA Board have considered the Working Group’s findings, and measures announced by the Board today are:
• Adoption of the Working Group’s agreed definitions of “Inside Information” and amendments to the Rules and Code of Conduct which prohibit the misuse of inside information. These are set out in full at britishhorseracing.com
The definition of Inside Information is:
“Inside Information” is information about the likely participation or likely performance of a horse in a race which is known by an Owner, Trainer, Rider, Stable Employee or their Service Providers as a result of acting as such and is not Information in the Public Domain.
• A thorough programme of industry training and education, to ensure that everyone in racing understands the Rules, and what the part they have to play in keeping racing clean.
• Published guidance for trainers, jockeys, stable staff and owners setting out what is and is not acceptable.
• Jockeys’ agents being prohibited from laying horses to lose ridden by a jockey they represent.
• Looking to formalise arrangements to ensure that anyone within the betting industry found to be posing a threat to racing is removed from the industry.
• Application of the requirements to inform the Racing Calendar Office at Weatherbys as soon as practicable of non-participation of horses, with speedy dissemination to the betting industry.
• Agreement with the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) to introduce a code of conduct for journalists, with tough penalties for any misuse of Inside Information.
At the same time, the HRA Board has announced that it will:
• Set up an ongoing monitoring group under Paul Scotney, involving cross-industry representation, to make sure that the education programme is working.
• Address issues relating to the penalties for misuse of Inside Information at its next meeting.
• Consider the Rules as to what information has to be put into the public domain, and when. Veterinary treatments, fillies and mares in foal and in season, and horse’s weights are some examples of what will be considered.
• Look again at the circumstances in which it is acceptable for those within the industry to lay a horse to lose. One issue to address is owners backing other horses in a race in which they have a runner, particularly where the horses are with the same trainer.
• Revisit the criteria for deciding on whether a person is “fit and proper” to hold a licence to participate in the sport.
• Encourage the betting industry to formalise arrangements to ensure that any person excluded from racing cannot enter bookmakers’ premises or bet with them.
The training and education programme will involve:
• Inclusion of specific modules in Jockeys’ and Trainers’ training courses.
• Production of an interactive training presentation and video, with web access.
• A series of seminars and presentations to licensed and registered persons, to be repeated regularly.
• Guidance through racing publications.
• Creation of easy reference guides for different groups in racing.
Paul Scotney, the HRA’s Director of Security and Chairman of the second phase Working Group said,
”Now that we have a clear definition of what constitutes Inside Information the challenge for the sport is to ensure that everyone within the industry is clear about their responsibilities in preventing and deterring people from using Inside Information for corrupt purposes.
“We are determined to give better protection to the vast majority of the sport’s participants who operate within the rules whilst at the same time identify and punish those who use Inside Information for corrupt purposes. Recent cases illustrate that if you cheat at horseracing there is a very good chance you will be caught and punished.”
John Bridgeman, Chairman of the HRA and of the Jockey Club Regulatory Board that set up the Working Group said,
“The integrity of British Horseracing is crucial to the future success of a sport which supports a multi-million pound racing and betting industry. The issue of Inside Information being used to cheat at betting, or to gain an unfair advantage, impacts directly upon the integrity of horseracing, both in reality and perception.
“The role of the HRA, and for the British Horseracing Authority in the future, is to protect the overwhelming majority from attacks on the sport they love. This means not only getting our own Rules into the best shape, and getting the message out across the industry, but working closely with the Gambling Commission, as well as betting operators.”
Quotes from members of the Working Group
Rupert Arnold, Chief Executive of the National Trainers’ Federation, said
“The NTF has been closely involved in both stages of the Inside Information inquiry. It’s clear the issues are challenging but we accept that the racing fraternity must take all possible steps to protect the sport from perceptions that “insiders” enjoy an unfair advantage. Trainers’ yards are often a source of Inside Information so all those with access to it must be clear about their responsibilities concerning its use. The HRA’s report and Guide to Acceptable and Unacceptable Uses of Inside Information should be seen not as an end but a starting point for an extensive effort to educate participants in what they may or may not do with information in their possession.”
Sally Rowley-Williams, on behalf of the Racehorse Owners Association, said:
“More than ever, integrity must be regarded as the main supporting pillar of this sport. The ROA takes its responsibility very seriously in helping to get the balance right between ensuring that racing is conducted under a strict code of conduct and ethics but, at the same, allows for the natural elements of the sport to thrive. As the entertainment, fun and intrigue of racing are fundamental, the Regulator’s task is to create an environment where betting is not stifled but where dishonesty and cheating are. From the initiatives being taken by the Inside Information Working Group, it is clear this critical distinction is behind much of the thinking of the Group.”
Ann Saunders, Company Secretary of the Jockeys’ Association of Great Britain, said:
“If the report and Code of Conduct help bring clarity to a difficult area, then they are to be welcomed. Jockeys need to know where they stand, and what they can and cannot say. As a group, our jockeys are intent on working together with the BHA, whenever possible. It is in the interests of all to protect the integrity of British Horseracing. This means bringing to account those involved in wrongdoing whilst at the same time ensuring that sufficient safeguards exist to ensure that innocent people do not inadvertently breach the Rules. We therefore particularly welcome the improved communication and education programme recommended by the Group, and look forward to its implementation as soon as possible.”
Tom Kelly, Chief Executive of the Association for British Bookmakers, said:
“The ABB is pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in the Inside Information inquiry. The integrity of Racing is of great importance to the betting industry and the ABB is committed to doing everything possible to help defend the honesty and reputation of the sport. In this respect, this inquiry is an indication of the determination of Racing to deal with its problems in an open and robust manner.”
Andrew Black, co-founder and Director of Betfair, said:
“Betfair was pleased to be part of the Working Group on behalf of the betting exchanges. All members of the betting and racing industries bear a responsibility to uphold the integrity of racing and we hope that the findings of the Group reflect this fact. We also hope that the Group’s findings will help clarify what is and is not acceptable in terms of the definition and use of inside information.”
Alan Lee – Horserace Writers & Photographers Association said:
“If this exhaustive process achieves one priority, it should be the overdue education of all areas of the racing industry in what is and is not acceptable regarding the use of information. After this, there should be no valid excuse that anyone ‘did not know’ the rules. So far as the media element is concerned, any code banning the negative use of information that a horse is sick, injured, dead or otherwise indisposed merely endorses the profession’s own, unwritten rules of integrity and it would take an irresponsible journalist to flout it.”
4 July 2007
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
1 – The Stage One Inquiry Members were:
Chair – John Bridgeman, the Chairman of the Jockey Club Regulatory Board, Toby Balding (former trainer), Rodney Brack (then Chief Executive of the Levy Board), Jim McGrath (Director of Timeform, Channel 4 Racing and a Director of the British Horseracing Board), Jeremy Gompertz QC (owner and breeder), Ben Gunn (member of the Jockey Club Regulatory Board and of the Gaming Board for Great Britain), Richard Dunwoody and John Reid (former Jockeys and past Chairmen of the Jockeys Association of Great Britain) and Paul Scotney (then Jockey Club Director of Security).
2 – The Stage Two Working Group Members were:
Chair – Paul Scotney (HRA Director of Security) Sally Rowley-Williams (ROA Council Member), Rupert Arnold (NTF Chief Executive), John Blake (then JAGB Chief Executive), Tom Kelly (ABB Chief Executive), Andrew Black (Betfair founder and Director), Alan Lee (HWPA representative) and Sarah Thomas (Department for Culture, Media and Sport).
3 – Appendices
Appendix A – Summary Findings of The Phase 2 Working Group and HRA Regulatory Board Decisions
Appendix B – Integrity Code of Conduct – New Appendix to the Rules of Racing
Appendix C – Annex to the Integrity Code of Conduct, ‘A Guide to the Acceptable/Unacceptable Use of Inside Information’