20 Jan 2004 Pre-2014 Releases

Jockey Club Call For Tighter Licensing Conditions For Betting Organisations

Published: 20 January 2004

The Jockey Club will today, along with representatives from the British Horseracing Board and National Trainers’ Federation, give evidence to the Joint Committee on the Draft Gambling Bill.

Since 1999 the Jockey Club have been calling for the introduction of a stronger regulatory framework for betting. It will be represented at the hearing by Christopher Foster, the Executive Director, who said today:

“We have long said that the greatest improvement to the confidence of the punter will come with firm regulation of betting and we look forward to playing our part in complementing the measures proposed in the Gambling Bill to strengthen the deterrents to malpractice. The most effective deterrent to malpractice will be successful prosecutions by the Gambling Commission or the Jockey Club. This means the Gambling Commission must be fully resourced to utilise the powers given to it to investigate and prosecute effectively.

“While we accept prime responsibility for the regulation of racing, including the actions of direct participants in relation to betting, the Jockey Club does not regulate betting; that is a matter for the Gambling Commission. We have nevertheless recently taken a number of further actions as deterrents to malpractice.
• We have extended the ban on jockeys betting to include a ban on trainers, stable staff and owners laying horses under their control or ownership.
• We are significantly expanding our Security Department, following an independent review, to increase our ability to monitor and investigate unusual betting movements that may be indicative of an attempt to corrupt an event.
• We have negotiated voluntary agreements with a number of betting organisations for the provision by them of detailed betting data (an audit trail) on races which are a cause for concern.

“However, while we have to rely on voluntary agreements with the betting industry and continue to be constrained by limited investigatory powers, racing will remain vulnerable to corruption through betting.

“The recent measures taken by us represent an interim expedient to cover the period before the Gambling Commission is in a position to lay down appropriate rules for the conduct of betting. The problems associated with the misuse of inside information and the potential corruption of sports events are exacerbated by the emergence of betting exchanges which have expanded the ability to lay a horse to lose.”

The Jockey Club’s submission to the Committee includes a recommendation for a number of conditions to form part of the operating licence for any betting organisation. These include the introduction of:

• Strict client verification rules to ensure that betting organisations know precisely with whom they are dealing. Compliance with money laundering standards would be a deterrent to cheating.

• A duty for betting organisations to advise their clients about insider trading, the new criminal offence of cheating and of the consequences of committing an offence.

• A requirement that betting organisations do not provide any preferential terms, payments or other advantages to participants in sport (who may have inside information or be able to influence the outcome of an event).

• A duty for betting organisations to report to the Gambling Commission any activity which it suspects on reasonable grounds to be potentially criminal or corrupt.

• A duty for betting organisations to honour the rules of a sport on betting by reporting to the Gambling Commission where they believe the Rules of sporting bodies may have been breached by individuals betting or laying in prohibited circumstances.

• A duty for the provision of comprehensive audit trails of betting including the provision of information to the Regulator on request from the Gambling Commission where, for example, there has been concern that an event may have been corrupted.

The Jockey Club’s submission to the Joint Committee on the Draft Gambling Bill can be read in full on their website at .

20th January 2004

Notes for Editors:

1. The Jockey Club signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of British Bookmakers last week. Since June 2003 there has been a Memorandum of Understanding between the Jockey Club and the leading betting exchange firms.