21st July 2017

The Horseracing Bettors’ Forum would like to publicly state that it has no confidence in the current Starting Price Regulatory Commission, the SPRC.  In today’s world regulatory bodies have to be open and accountable to their stakeholders and to clearly demonstrate the integrity of their decisions. The SPRC fails to do either of these.

There are no minutes published of meetings or discussions this organisation has and in their most recent report they dealt with a potential conflict of interest scenario by one, unnamed, committee member talking to another unnamed “distinguished lawyer”.  No reports of those discussions have been made available.

To ensure the integrity of the SP or starting price, one of the lynch pins of horse racing, not only must things be done but they must be seen to be done. The days of regulatory bodies handing out rulings without explanation or discussion are long past.

As representatives of people who bet we were shocked by the patronising attitude to bettors shown by the chairman Lord Donoughue’s  recent statement.,

“However, our SP caters mostly for the majority of average smaller punters, who do not wish or have time to engage in the bear garden of competitive pricing and are content to accept a fair price on their winners and losers. It is true that they might gain a few more shillings if they hunted down the very best prices”

He apparently has no idea of the modern betting world or of its participants.

He further has stated that “No one can ‘fix’ the SP”. This shows a degree of complacency totally incompatible with the imagination and preparedness needed in a modern regulatory body.

The SPRC has a long history of trying to deflect criticism by saying its critics are seeking to abolish the starting price system. We would like to reiterate that this is not HBF’s aim.

However HBF would like to see starting prices regulated by an open communicative organisation, responsive to the views of those it affects and with its members selected in a clear and open manner.

Horse racing, bettors and the betting industry deserve no less.

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