Horseracing Bettors Forum News from meeting in March 2017

The seventh HBF meeting took place at the BHA offices in London on 20 March, 2017. The following is a summary of some of the matters considered and individuals contacted.

Contact with the betting public

  • HBF will look into arranging another “meet the HBF” day at a racecourse, possibly in the Midlands, following last September’s event at Doncaster racecourse
  • HBF will curate a Twitter Q&A in coming months
  • The Chair will shortly be participating in a Q&A through The Racing Forum site for racing fans

Future HBF membership

  • Chair will be replaced in September 2017 – at the end of a two-year tenure as agreed at the outset – but remain on the Forum for a minimum of a year to help with succession. Applications to be Chair were invited from existing members
  • HBF will also seek applications from the public to join the Forum, commencing in September or October 2017, as part of a planned refreshing process. This will coincide with two HBF members stepping down
  • BHA to assist in drafting and publicising application process

Subject matter representatives

  • HBF is looking to formalise how it deals with key issues and stakeholders by appointing HBF members to ownership of them. These include: bookmakers; the BHA; government bodies; and the betting public. Future appointments to the HBF will take these responsibilities, and the skills required to discharge them, into account

Meet the BHA (Nick Rust, CEO, and Paul Johnson, Head of Racing)

  • A regular slot of roughly an hour in which both parties give updates and discuss current topics of shared interest
  • Subjects discussed included: the funding of racing; the situation regarding non-runners; concerns about official description of going; concerns about race-distance measurements; concerns about the delay in bringing in new data streams and in ensuring the accuracy of existing ones; declaration procedures at Cheltenham and other major racing festivals; accusations of so-called picture piracy; the BHA’s commitment to consider the impact on punters of any new initiatives or of changes to existing policies (involving HBF if needed); the need for HBF’s involvement in shaping policy to be recognised publicly

In addition, HBF is currently engaged in a significant piece of work which involves liaison with the BHA, the Gambling Commission and with bookmakers. Two senior bookmaking representatives attended the latter stages of the meeting to this end. All being well, HBF will make a public statement on the matter when steps are sufficiently advanced.

HBF attendance at the March meeting from: Glenn Alcoe; Scott Ferguson; James Prosser; Simon Rowlands (Chair); Tanya Stevenson; Steven Tilley; Matt Bisogno; and Quen Emmenes

Next HBF meeting will be on the afternoon of Monday 03 July, 2017, at the BHA offices in London. It is anticipated that it will include attendance from representatives from the Gambling Commission – with whom HBF is discussing Rule 4 use among other matters – and the BHA. Other details to be finalised.

April 2017