The 13th meeting of HBF, and its final one of 2018, was held in Wetherby on 17th October. Below are some notes from that meeting covering many of the topics discussed.
Existing HBF members welcomed new members, Sean Trivass and Joe Szekeres.
Overview of HBF objectives / summary of progress to date
HBF recognised that there is still scope to explore and evolve its remit further – it has moved on since its original objective of ‘helping to grow British Racing revenues’.
HBF is continuing to lobby for bettors’ rights to a fair bet (Minimum Bet Liability), to fairness in terms and conditions, to a fair return on wagers (the future of the SP), and to better and more information provision from the sport’s stakeholder groups.
HBF is working towards a more public, and earlier, distribution of information relating to rail movements and their impact on race distances.
There will be a repeat of the exercise last year which looked at overrounds by racecourse. This will likely be undertaken in January 2019.
Diversity of HBF Membership
MB said that despite extensive efforts, including reaching out to Women in Racing and the Diversity in Racing groups, it had not been possible to broaden the diversity of the Membership. Subject matter representation remains the key objective, but diversity of membership continues to be an aspiration for the group.
Mares in foal
TW noted that the BHA’s aim was to ensure the Mares in Foal development work would be completed in the next few months ahead of the 2019 breeding season. This will also involve a Rule change in the coming months.
National Hunt race timing
TW added that a new Break Beam System has been introduced by Racetech to modernise the timing of National Hunt Racing, which had been trialled with the BHA. The new system went live on 1st October.
HBF is considering how to implement the Betting Charter. It is close to finalisation, but whether Charter status is ‘bestowed’ or reported locally (e.g. on ukhbf.org website) has yet to be determined.
HBF will undertake work to provide a ‘tick box’ display illustrating where the major operators stand against the Charter points.
Minimum Bet Liability
BetVictor were pioneers in this space, and it may be reasonable to suggest they have endured some challenges as a result. They remain committed to the provision and are working through the teething issues. Sky Bet and William Hill have at least some MBL provision. [Since the meeting, Betfair have announced a fairly extensive MBL offering as well].
HBF are pleased with progress on this point, though there remains some considerable way to go yet.
HBF has had initial discussions with SPRC on the broad subject of the starting price (SP). There is a view in some quarters that the SP is anachronistic, and that a cross-industry effort may be needed in the coming years to identify a replacement.
Since the initial meeting, HBF has forwarded a set of questions to SPRC.
2018 Survey: Early thoughts
There were over a thousand responses to the HBF Survey – many thanks to all who took time to respond. Work is underway to review the data, and a full digest will be issued in due course.
Sectional Timing: Status update
HBF understands there may now be some funding to support a more centralised approach to sectional timing. We continue to push for this information to be both produced and disseminated more widely.
Going Stick Working Party had approved in principle the development of an app to assist Clerks of The Course in the first place (and possibly the industry more widely thereafter) with going description by utilising race times and other relevant info. HBF continues to monitor progress on this.
In Running: illegal pictures, time delays
HBF have observed that the exchange in-running markets have been very thin in the past three months. RUK said they were working towards a more level playing field in terms of picture latency, but ATR seem to have little appetite. The latency might even increase in HD when ATR becomes Sky Sports Racing, though this remains to be seen. HBF continues to lobby but accepts it has little ability to break the impasse which has emerged.
Britbet / Alizeti / Tote betting update
HBF had received no formal update on the Britbet/Alizeti situation, but awaited the public announcements at the end of October. We continue to liaise with all parties offering support where appropriate.
Date of next meeting
14th January 2019
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