3rd December 2017

Horseracing Bettors Forum’s Betting Charter

The Horseracing Bettors Forum has launched a Betting Charter, aimed at defining reasonable and constructive objectives to which those involved in betting can aspire to the benefit of all concerned.

The Charter was arrived at after discussion with various parties, including a number of receptive bookmakers.

The British Horseracing Authority, who are among those HBF has discussed the matter with already, recently indicated its support for HBF as it seeks to gain wider acceptance of the Charter.

The Charter has also been drawn to the attention of the Association of British Bookmakers and the Remote Gambling Association, who were both asked to share it with their members. HBF emphasised at the time that the Charter “could be modified if feedback from your members persuaded HBF to that end”.

The Charter comprises 10 points, with some added detail in the accompanying notes, including:

  • The need for “advanced protection of punters’ funds”
  • The need to “deal appropriately with problem gambling”
  • The need for Terms & Conditions which are “helpful, concise and transparent”
  • The desirability of “minimum bet commitments”, at least in certain circumstances
  • The requirement that punters in return “comply with rules and obligations, providing they are fair, reasonable and transparent”

HBF aims to work constructively with all parties concerned to develop ways of measuring the degree to which the Charter’s objectives are being met, and to acknowledge successes and highlight weaknesses when appropriate.

HBF is now inviting feedback from the British horseracing betting public on the Charter and will be working towards the Charter’s wider adoption in the betting industry.


HBF Chair

“The Betting Charter is an attempt to define and recognise good practice in the betting environment, and is the product of a considerable amount of discussion, including with co-operative bookmakers.

HBF wishes to work with the betting industry to achieve common goals but will act independently if necessary in pursuit of a better future for all concerned.”

Will Lambe, BHA Executive Director:

“At the BHA we believe that the launch of the Betting Charter should be a positive development for all involved in betting on British racing. On behalf of the sport, we would like to thank the Horseracing Bettors Forum for their work to date in producing the Charter, which should be seen as a constructive proposal for all concerned.

Bettors are a key customer group of British racing, and the BHA continues to support efforts to help to deliver both improved practices and other initiatives, including greater transparency and data provision on our part, which can grow interest in betting on British racing.

The BHA has supported the Horseracing Bettors Forum since its inception in 2015, and the sport as a whole also seeks a new partnership with the British betting industry, including through a new racing and betting liaison group.”   



Horseracing Bettors Forum: Betting Charter

The purpose of the Charter is to identify and acknowledge those practices which promote healthy relationships between bookmakers and customers and which thereby increase interest in betting on the sport of horseracing more generally.

Following initial discussions which also included the BHA and some bookmakers, HBF presents the following essential points as an initial version of a Betting Charter.

1, Advanced protection of punters’ funds

2, Dealing appropriately with problem gambling

3, Evidence that restrictions/closures have been adopted as a last resort and after adequate communication -with reasons for such restrictions/ closures given to those affected

4, Helpful, concise and transparent Terms & Conditions, applied fairly, with improved accessibility and with clarity when there are amendments 

5, Transparent account verification procedures which are not excessively onerous to the customer

6, Evidence of honouring advertised prices

7, Minimum bet commitments, at least for certain races/at certain times

8, Evidence that betting disputes are being resolved satisfactorily and in a timely manner without superfluous referral to third-party arbitration

9, Engagement with HBF and BHA when reasonably requested

10, Punters should comply with rules and obligations, providing they are fair, reasonable and transparent, such as referred to above



1, HBF expects betting companies to have “medium” or “high” ratings for customer fund protection, as defined presently by the UK Gambling Commission. That body already requires that the level of customer fund protection be made known to the customer at the time of deposit and any alterations communicated to them prior to implementation in Terms & Conditions.   

2, Details of profit/loss over a chosen period – which is an existing obligation from UKGC under its technical standards – including deposits and bonuses must be easily accessed and operated.

3, There needs to be clear indication of reasons for possible account restrictions/closures early in the process.

4, More specifically, unhelpful, excessively complex and unclear T&Cs, which are difficult to obtain or where it is difficult to identify which amendments have been made and when, will be viewed unfavourably

5, Methods and procedures used to determine customer ID – including at withdrawal – should be clearly defined and brought to the customer’s attention on opening an account.

6, More likely to be evidence that advertised prices are not being reasonably honoured

7, HBF has liaised with co-operative bookmakers about this matter. The guidelines below would be regarded as a minimum

7, i Lay to lose £500 per selection per race minimum from 8 a.m. on day of race: all Listed, Graded and Group races on flat and over jumps, plus class 1, 2 and 3 handicaps

Lay to lose £500 per selection per race minimum from no later than 1 hour before advertised off: all races not included above

8, There should be no evidence of the opposite: namely, that disputes are being unnecessarily drawn out, possibly with the intention that the customer will lose heart

9, Both HBF and BHA see a productive relationship as important to the growth of betting on horseracing as a sport to the mutual benefit of all parties

10, HBF does not condone any behaviour on behalf of punters which is unethical, deceitful or illegal


December 2017 version