The 20th HBF meeting took place remotely via Zoom on the 13st July 2020.
Colin Hord was again in the chair.
The Chairman’s update included:
Sectional Timing– Data errors for the CourseTrack system have been flagged and reported to RMG. It was noted that TPD is currently producing more accurate data and a discussion ensued regarding expectations for what would or would not be available free of charge to the public.
SPRC– Ongoing discussions continue regarding both off course returns during racing behind closed doors, and the modernisation of the SP.
Gambling Act Review– Early consideration is needed for any issues affecting horse racing that are likely to be raised, and it was agreed that this is an ideal opportunity for the HBF to provide input on behalf of bettors.
Racing Post Editor Tom Kerr joined the meeting as a guest and during his slot he discussed various issues affecting the racing industry and the role of the Racing Post with regard to bettors, and how they as a publication can work more closely with the HBF before leaving the meeting.
Jamie Hart (Tote Product Director) was our second guest who took questions from the forum regarding recent changes to the Tote’s terms and conditions, which now allow for the Tote to bet into their own pools (seeding). Jamie explained that due to low liquidity caused by racing behind closed doors and less money entering the pools from the high street bookmakers, the Tote were seeding pools four times prior to each race at set intervals and in amounts that reflected the betting market at that time – this enables pools to be more stable and less likely to see sudden fluctuation.
The HBF noted that customers had not been directly informed of this change to the T’s and C’s before Jamie explained that both the Gambling Commission and The Racing Post had been informed, and that as there were no material changes to the customer experience (other than larger pools), it wasn’t seen as one of the material changes that would require a specific forced communication, unlike a change in licence or takeout rate etc. He also stressed that the Tote has nothing to hide from its customers and that the total money is visible in the published pools totals and the “will pay” dividend calculations throughout the day. The HBF were also updated on other initiatives including the fact that bettors can now bet placepots and many other pool bets to 1p stakes. (see post meeting note below).
SPRC SP Modernisation– Over round averages continue to be recorded but the current sample is too small to draw any accurate conclusions.
HBF Fixture Survey– Now completed and the results have been published via the usual channels.
Account Restrictions– One of the forum members noted that one of their accounts had recently been restricted. They noted that no reasoning was provided. The HBF reiterated their Betting Charter position that evidence that restrictions/closures should have been adopted as a last resort and only after adequate communication with reasons for such restrictions/closures given to those affected. It was also felt that bookmakers need to improve their T&Cs and to consider a way for on-line bettors to be able to view any restrictions in place at the touch of a button.
Next meeting will take place in October via Zoom.
Post Meeting Note: Re Tote Seeding. Analysis of 779 races that the HBF had data for showed that the Tote beat SP 36.4% and SP beat Tote 63.5%, in 2019 it was 29% and 71%. The HBF also looked at how well Betfair SP performed against SP and the Tote against SP in terms of returns, betting BSP a bettor is +14.17% better off (less commission) and for Tote -6.42% worse off. In 2019 the Tote bettor was -4.16% worse off. With the SP being returned by off-course bookmakers and providing lower overrounds it was hard to assess the impact, further analysis will be carried out when there are more races in the sample.