The HBF meeting took place remotely via Zoom on the 13th July 2020.

Colin Hord was in the chair.

Charter Update – IBAS has been written to and we await a reply

Archive Documents – ongoing

Minutes Of Previous Meetings – work in progress

The Chairman’s update included:

Sectional timing – Errors in the data have been flagged to RMG and feedback obtained by experts, though a point of contact at RMG needs to be ascertained. It was agreed to keep pressure on RMG about the accuracy of the data and to use this with HBLB who had funded the project. It was noted that TPG are currently producing more accurate data.

SPRC – split in to two strands – modernisation of the SPP and the use of the  off-course returns while racing remains behind closed doors – ongoing.

Gambling Act review – A separate Slack channel has been created for ongoing discussion.

Single Customer View – The meeting was updated with regard to the risk associated with data protection issues regarding single customer view, as well as the sharing of personal betting data and banking details. These need to be balanced with the needed reduction in gambling harm and the HBF concluded that we need to be part of the process to educate bettors about the implications involved.

Guest speakers:

Tom Kerr, Editor Racing Post

Many subjects were discussed in an informal setting including:

HBF – an important voice for punters.

Racing Post – the plan is to keep the print version for as long as possible. The on-line version is more stable now that it has been moved to the cloud. In-running – faster pictures are seen as a necessity, while the new Racing Post digital TV show was applauded for its education and entertainment possibilities. Profit and loss figures for RP tipsters was also discussed and will be looked in to.

Bookmakers – The HBF feel the RP has a duty to provide reliable and accurate information and in-depth data (agreed). Tom also agreed with the idea of a betting Ombudsman with statutory powers.

Age of Racing Audience – It was agreed that racing needs to be confident about its product and should not be afraid to promote responsible gambling. New younger fans needs to be attracted to the sport and converted to long term supporters.

Fixture List – Although horse population and racecourse/bookmaker needs have to be part of the equation, it was agreed that a sensible geographical spread is needed along with the need to broadcast racing when people can watch (bigger cards, more Sunday meetings etc).

Technology for betting – Tom noted the RP desire to compete in this market with the development of sophisticated tools to help bettors interpret data.

Sectional Timing – Needs to improve but will eventually become standard and inform RP products.

Gambling Act Review – The importance of safer gambling was agreed by all but there remains a fear that racing will be subject to stringent restrictions that may be placed on (for example) casino gambling which is a concern.

International Racing – accurate form is not currently available but future database enhancements should solve this problem.

Tom agreed to work closely with the HBF in future and we thanked Tom and his staff for their help to promote our organisation.

The SP Guarantee, pool seeding, and other Tote issues were discussed ahead of our next guest.

Guest – Jamie Hart, Tote Product Director.

A long discussion ensured about the new look Tote and included:

Concerns over Tote value – Jamie offered a detailed explanation of take out percentages Tote Ratio and the competitive betting market in the UK and the effective take-out in both the UK and Ireland. It was noted by the HBF that any seeding of the markets should not have a negative impact on bettors – Jamie assured the HBF that that the Tote did not seed any markets with rollovers scoop sixes, or jackpots.

Entry points for the Tote pool were also discussed, along with International jurisdictions and the impact of industrial players putting money in to the pool, as well as minimum stakes which should see more successful rollovers in the future. SP Return at the Tote guarantee were next with the intention for the Tote to be more competitive on singles, win and place.

Enhanced dividends are intended to attract the bigger punters (no premium charges will apply) with an “all winners welcome” mentality, while various bets offered by the Tote are designed to be better value than elsewhere, to engage with anyone perhaps reluctant to bet on course. There was a concern from the HBF that punters may find better value elsewhere in the digital markets and Jamie offered to provide figures for three markets.

HBF Business (continued)

SPRC/SP Modernisation – Steve Tilley updated the meeting with the latest overround figures. The impact of BCD (Behind Closed Doors) racing on Starting Price was discussed  and it was agreed that a modernisation of the SP process was long overdue with on-course betting only accounting for 5% of the market, though any new SP mechanism does need to guard against collusion. The role of the SPRC is to maintain the integrity of the prices, and the HBF felt that any review information should be made available to the general public via Twitter.

Gambling Act Review – Government consultation was discussed and the pint made that this was a real opportunity for the HBF to have an input on behalf of bettors. It was proposed that we focus on three or four essential points and start a slack discussion accordingly. The lobbying of supportive politicians, after which we would engage with the Parliamentary All Party Betting And Gaming Group.

HBF Fixture Survey – Postponed during lockdown but open to progress now racing has resumed.

Account Restrictions –  The Chairman’s own experience with Bet365 reiterates the issues with restrictions and although the HBF acknowledge bookmakers have the right to restrict accounts, and the HBF would like to see an improvement in Ts and Cs and ac “button” so punters can instantly display any restrictions and limitations on their accounts.

Website Update – Ongoing. Current HBF initiatives need to be added to the site while photos to colour up the site are proving an issue thanks to copyright problems.



Date Of Next Meeting To be Agreed and to take place via Zoom as things stand


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