|Friday, June 24, 2005||Contact: Maurits Bruggink|
|Investigations into race fixing by exchange bettors|
The Jockey Club has started investigations in January 2005 on a possible gambling ring, which is suspect of fixing races on a regular basis. The Jockey Club obtained access to a number of accounts at betting exchange Betfair in order to investigate suspicious betting behaviour. The Jockey Club’s official statement on this matter is below.
The suspicion is that privileged information from licensed individuals – horse trainers, jockeys or others - is being used to make profits from ‘sure bets’. In all of the investigated cases, the bettors with insider knowledge were betting on horses to lose, a form of betting that is only possible through exchange betting.
From all IFHA member countries, exchange betting is only legal in the UK and Ireland, where betting exchanges operate under a bookmaker’s license. The racing authorities in these countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Betfair, the quasi monopolists, to have certain access to betting data in order to fight fraud.
All other racing nations strongly reject exchange betting because of its possibility to bet on horses to lose. In horseraces it is very difficult, if not impossible to make a horse win. You would have to be able to manipulate the performance of all the other horses in the race. With exchange betting on horses to lose, race fixing has become easier, as you would only have to manipulate the performance of one horse (the loser).
The positive arguments brought forward by the betting exchanges about their new form of betting are that they respond to a great consumer demand, bring in new types of bettors and promote the sport of racing. Another positive argument brought forward is the possibility for racing authorities to access betting data. The Jockey Club believes that more of these cases will surface in the media in the future now that it has access to this betting data.
Unfortunately, the down sides are so big that all other racing nations are bound to keep their bans. Other than the risk of race fixing, exchange betting is a low margin business model that will have great difficulties in paying a meaningful contribution to the racing product. Betting exchanges, like most other private online operators, also offer bets to people living in countries where this is forbidden by law.
Statement by The Jockey Club
The Jockey Club confirms it is conducting an investigation into the alleged use of inside information for profit. While investigations are underway, we obviously cannot comment on individuals who may be involved or on specific cases. We gather intelligence and information from a wide range of sources and of course all information and allegations have to be investigated thoroughly so that we have hard evidence.
In this respect, the addition of two betting analysts to our intelligence team has strengthened our capabilities greatly and we now have continuous monitoring of betting markets. We also have the benefit of memoranda of understanding with betting exchanges with a full audit trail of bets placed which has led to greater co-operation and we have access to mobile phone records of licensed individuals.
While the Jockey Club has limited powers of investigating individuals not bound by the rules of racing, where there is evidence of suspected criminal activity we discuss the matter with police.
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