Meeting Notes

8th September 2015: Inaugural Horseracing Bettors Forum meeting has taken place

The first Horseracing Bettors Forum, which took place at the BHA on Friday afternoon, was attended by all Forum members, with administrative support provided by BHA, and lasted for the full three and a half hours.

A wide range of Agenda topics were discussed, and it is the Forum’s intention to receive back the minutes and approve those minutes before issuing a fuller press release, probably towards the end of next week.

Nonetheless, we can reveal that the Forum voted by a majority to support a proposal for consideration by the Starting Price Regulatory Commission as part of that body’s consultation process.

The detailed proposal recommends adjustments to over-rounds at a race-level in instances in which those over-rounds fall outside agreed parameters. The Forum will also be registering its concern that those bookmakers which constitute the sample are too easily identified, or guessed at, given current SP methodology.

It discussed, in brief, Rule (B) 10.5.2 (the Speculative Bid rule) and agreed that the problem at Ascot was with the implementation of the Rule and with communication, and not necessarily with the Rule itself. We expect those involved to have learned from mistakes, which adversely affected bookmakers as well as punters, and for the experience not to be repeated. We do not recommend scrapping the Rule.

HBF has already received a large amount of correspondence regarding betting account restrictions and closures: it constitutes a sizeable majority of the Forum’s correspondence so far.

HBF will be seeking to establish to what degree this is representative of the problem more widely, by engaging with the BHA’s Racing & Betting Group and with other relevant stakeholders. The Forum has a number of suggestions and observations in this area but will not be going public with them until such engagement has taken place.

Other items discussed and actions agreed upon may be dealt with in that later press release.

HBF wishes to thank BHA for its considerable assistance in establishing the Forum and in facilitating its first meeting, which included a brief presentation from Nigel Roddis of BHA about the ongoing Jump Racing Consultation.

The intention is currently for HBF to have its second meeting on Monday November 23.

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Submission to Starting Price Regulatory Commission

HBF was recently created with the assistance of the BHA to represent those who bet on horseracing in Britain. This consultation submission was discussed and approved at HBF’s first meeting on 4th September 2015. HBF is a consultative body to the BHA but does not represent the views of the BHA, and the proposal in question is entirely HBF endorsed and not in any way indicative of the BHA’s stance on the question of possible SP reform.

The submission can be viewed here.

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27th November 2015: Notes from the second Horseracing Bettors Forum meeting

A number of individuals from within bookmaking had already indicated a willingness to speak with HBF regarding concerns about account closures/restrictions and other betting issues, and it was with this in mind that HBF intends to engage with the betting industry in a spirit of sharing ideas and of obtaining clarity.

This includes: attempting to establish the true magnitude of the issue of account closure/restrictions; and making specific recommendations regarding greater flexibility in applying restrictions.

HBF will persevere in its attempts to establish contact with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Racing and Bloodstock.

HBF has had clarification of SPRC’s remit and source of funding. It will be deferring any further comment until after SPRC has reported on the SP consultation process to which HBF submitted a proposal.

Reacting to a request for consideration from BHA, HBF is broadly in approval of additional data and data streams being made available but will seek clarification of exactly what these might be. HBF strongly supports any measures which would make data available in a timely and robust manner, especially data at a race-meeting level.

Reacting to a request for consideration from BHA, HBF will be placing on record that it does not favour any significant further increases in the fixture list, that it would like to see a greater geographical spread on given race days, and that it would like to see Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings bolstered in particular.

However, it is aware of the limitations of the BHA’s powers in this area and will also seek further confirmation from the British horseracing betting public around these matters.

A representative of IBAS gave a short presentation and Q&A session. Clarification around methodologies and protocols was sought and given. It was felt that there are some areas in which IBAS and HBF could co-operate, such as in submissions to the UK Gambling Commission. There will be a new IBAS website in 2016 which should give better access to the public and visibility about rulings.

HBF intends surveying some of the British horseracing betting public it seeks to represent in the New Year, now that it has acquired a better idea of the issues and possible resolutions involved.

HBF does not have the resources or authority to consider individual cases of concern raised with it by the public (non-triers, horses deemed not to have started etc) but will establish a register of these and pass them on to the relevant bodies on a regular and formal basis.

The next HBF meeting will be at the BHA offices on the afternoon of Monday, 29 February 2016.

The public is encouraged to contact HBF by e-mail (bettingforum@britishhorseracing.com) and through Twitter (@HbfBritain).

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Horseracing Bettors Forum news, January 2016 

Matt Bisogno of the Horseracing Bettors Forum joined the Racecourse Association Gambling Advisory Group at its meeting on 13 January 2016.

This Group of racecourse representatives is in place to share best practice and provide advice and assistance to racecourses on the on-course implementation of gambling-related initiatives.

Matt provided the Group with a summary of the origins, membership and mandate of HBF, as well as an outline of how items discussed were put forward for further progression.

There was then a discussion of matters of mutual interest, including education of novice and infrequent racegoers; the display of over-rounds; the Starting Price Regulatory Commission consultation; and Standard Each-Way Terms.

It was proposed that it would be beneficial for there to be regular interaction between HBF and the RCA Group, in order to progress the issues discussed and to consider any further items of benefit to racecourse customers.

The RCA would liaise with the Forum Chair to progress this.

That Chair, Simon Rowlands, will be representing HBF at an RCA Seminar on Racing and Turf Management in February, including a presentation on “the importance of accurate data in 21st century horseracing”.

SPRC recently indicated to HBF that it expects to have a full report on their consultation process (to which HBF contributed) written in the next month or so.

Neither appearance mentioned above is remunerated, and nor is attendance at HBF quarterly meetings, the next of which will be Monday 29th February 2016.