The HBF meeting took place remotely via Zoom on the 11th June 2021
Colin Hord was in the chair.
Charter Update – Work to be revisited in light of the Gambing Act Review
SPRC/Overrounds – ongoing
Gambling Act review – awaiting the green light for HBF input
Fixture List Survey – completed
In Running Betting – use of illegal streaming – ongoing while we await answers from the RCA
Chris Hudson/Betfair Data – the decision was made that this does not come under the HBF remit
HBF Refresh – complete and a welcome was extended to new members George Ryley, Simon Rowlands, and Ben Fellows
Minutes Of Previous Meetings – agreed
The Chairman’s update included:
Bushypark incident – HBF concerns were aired via a Racing Post article.
Competitiveness of National Hunt Racing – small fields continue to be an issue and are unattractive to bettors. The HBF agrees to support Lydia Hislop’s view that the structure needs reviewing in the near future.
Gambling Commission Consultation on Affordability – after much discussion the following points sere agreed:
- There is a clear difference between skill based betting (sports) and casino based betting (often luck) and we believe there is a smaller percentage of problems gamblers i racing than elsewhere.
- Our response should be constructive and offer a workable solution
- Ensure it is fully understood that the sport of racing need bettors to continue to fund the industry via the levy and elsewhere
- Propose that bookmakers monitor losses in terms of responsible betting, and look cor an alternative to the unworkable affordability checks being suggested
- Propose that bookmakers provide their customers with the tools/technology needed to help them manage there being and make this a regulatory requirement
- If affordability checks are to be introduced, then those should be implemented across all markets with the capability of identifying those who are continually losing large or regular amounts.
- If was noted that the BGC, Bill Barber (Racing Post) and Nick Luck all showed an interest in the HBF response.
Tom Byrne, Operations Manager, Horserace Betting Levy Board
After discussing the role of the HBLB, and the impacts of covid and the reliance on the Levy Board reserves, we then spoke about:
Televised Sunday Racing – Tom noted that although TV audiences have grown on a Sunday, betting turnover does not increase accordingly in comparison to a Saturday, and it would be difficult to improve the quality without removing races form elsewhere.
Sectional Timing – the long term aim of all TV channels showing racing having sectional timing onscreen was confirmed, though covid has moved the timelines. The issue of varying standards remains but TB assured us that this pwiuf be clearly aligned at the conclusion of the project.
BHA Update – Paul Johnson
Race Distance Alterations – HBF concerns were based on the the timing and referral of the information. Feeds from the racecourse are sent to Racing Admin and the BHA site but the Racing Post, Timeform ATR and RTV do not receive timely updates. PJ confirmed all standard distances are now correct and adjustments for rails movements had been configured into race distances. The HBF noted that the form book and Racing Past results continued to display incorrect distances ACTION PJ to establish the correct process and share a spreadsheet of correct race distances.
Sea Of Cool weight cloth incident – the HBF view of horses in similar circumstances being declared a non-runner for betting purposes were agreed to be taken back to the BHA for further consideration.
Place Terms – PJ noted that many bookies now offer four places on a 15 runner race and wondered whether bettors received these concessions from all bookmakers? CH explained this a being raised with the BGC as a part of bookmakers standardised terms.
In-Running Betting – use of illegal streaming – PJ agreed to raise this once more with Martin Cruddace
Drones – the meeting noted a serious incident with health and safety implications at Chepstow and felt there should be change in the law accordingly. PH agreed to talk to the RCA with CH providing CAA contacts.
Guest – Julie Harrington, BHA CEO
More of an introduction for both sides at this stage though the lack of comparative National Hunt racing was discussed and it was agreed the HBF’s views would be fed into the Racing Group and the Jump Pattern Committee.
HBF Business continued
Gambling Act Review – Consultation document published, Slack discussion can now take place, with the possibility of an additional one-off meeting if needed
SPRC SP Modernisation – HBF confirmed it would like to see a strong on-course market, and the continued involvement of on-course bookmakers in compiling the SP. Our concerns should be taken into account during the consultation regarding the future of the SP
In-Running/Streaming update – slow progress s being made with RTV
HBF Annual Survey – It was agreed that it was important to keep in touch with the thoughts of the betting public via a new survey, though this one may aadd a focus to behind closed doors racing thanks to the pandemic. It was also agreed to ask out media colleagues to promote any future surveys
Idea for Future Speakers – Lydia Hislop, Julie Harington, Will Lambe, and a Betting Exchange representative
HBF Awareness – more media attention may see more responses to surveys etc
Use Of The Whip – A consolidation between Irish and UK rules may be needed after A Plus Tard’s win at Leopardstown. Penalties for such cases can appear lenient to punters
TV Coverage – concern that only the first two home are the subject of interest with the the remainder of the field ignored
HBF Engagement – Twitter to be our primary social media via a brief Slack discussion
The Tote – Jamie Hart is yet to respond to the letter from CH reading liquidity – to be progressed a second time
Wider Reach of HBF – if the HBF is featured more regularly in the mid then perhaps we will have a stronger position
HBLB – a slide deck from today’s presentation has been requested
Date of next meeting 29th March 2021.