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New rules to fight insider bets…

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    There is a report on the BBCs website stating that new regulations are to be brought in in a vain attempt to rid horseracing of the ‘select few’ who abuse it’s existence to (fraudulently) gain financially.

    Whilst such a statement from the HRA could be considered a good thing, the following quote from Paul Scotney says absolutely everything.

    "…people need to see if they do wrong, they’re likely to be caught, and if they’re caught, they’re likely to be substantially punished…"

    So the powers have been put in place, the detective work has been done and the unscrupulous buggers caught, but there’s only a chance they’ll be ‘substantially punished’.

    I have to admit to having gone over the top (maybe) about a number of rides in the past, but even I am growing tired of the now continual line of threads suggesting cheating of one kind or another. But to be honest, I think it’s a sad reflection on the state of racing today or, more to the point, the state of racing in this country.

    And when ‘the trainer was questioned regarding the performance of horse x, but in the presence of no further information was allowed to carry on as per’ is a published excuse, which warrants no further action, it’s hardly surprising.

    I’ve racked my brains on more than one occasion to try and work out just how easy it actually is to catch someone who is acting against the rules of racing, but continually come up with very little. With so many variables, and the sport hinging on the opinions of a great number of people, policing dishonesty is nigh on impossible.

    So what can be done? Is the problem simply inherent with the nature of the sport (though the increase in threats to the likes of cricket, snooker and football – albeit Italian football – show it’s by no means a restricted problem) or does it lie with those at the HRA? Should they be taking action to spot those cheating the system with more effective stewarding – and by finding a backbone in administering punishment – or are they always going to be fighting a losing battle?

    Personally, I think the HRA are about as useful as Richard Hughes in a finish and induce fear in potential cheats as effectively as Dale Winton adds a macho-edge to wrestling. More effective financial controls need to be implemented, rather than the monitoring of suspicious betting markets. Obviously that has to be a concern, but drifts involving the likes of Adagio (underpriced, overbet and considered only on reputation and connections) would simply be a waste of time and manpower.

    I wonder how effective the Inland Revenue actually are at flushing out tax cheats (and to some extent the government in charging benefit fraudsters – though any notion that the government are in any way effective is a little hard to digest) and if anything can be learned from the way they tackle matters…..

    (Edited by LetsGetRacing at 9:10 pm on May 8, 2007)

    • Total Posts 1593

    I was going to post this as well. It was the last part that frightened me:

    "Bookmakers will be asked to be tougher, including being encouraged to void the bets of any client who appears to have inside information"

    Here’s how to straighten out racing: give more power to the bookies! It’s so simple, why didn’t we think of that?

    Pegwell Bay
    • Total Posts 208

    That last section caught my eye as well. What criteria are they going to use to determine if somebody appears to have inside information?

    Leaving this power in the bookies hands (of all places) is surely a recipe for disaster.

    Worms jumping out of a can spring to mind.

    • Total Posts 419

    True Pegwell Bay! When the rules are in place I could in theory pop down to my local bookies and if I could get the bet on wack £500 on the nose of [ insert horse name here ]. Said horse trots up to win by 10 lengths.. Bookies call foul claming “… inside infoâ€ÂÂ

    • Total Posts 1593

    Yeah, exactly what I was thinking. A claim of insider knowledge could be a bookies way out of a bad result.

    Although I’m sure the HRA wouldn’t be stupid enough to let this happen easily… Would they?

    • Total Posts 1736

    I think the HRA should steer well clear of trying to bring in Insider Dealing rules similar to those operated by the Stock Market.

    Apart from the obvious(attempted doping etc), the HRA can only effectively police what happens(or sometimes doesn’t happen) between the start and finish of a race.<br>If there is some malpractice proven at this point, it should be very severely dealt with and any betting activity associated with it should be thoroughly investigated.

    Insider knowledge about a horse’s fitness is likely to affect the betting odds, but it is hard to see how it could be construed as malpractice if nothing untoward happened in the race. It would also be very difficult to prove that using such knowledge had led to a financial gain which was somehow fraudulent.

    Every person I have ever known who had a bet or laid a bet would use such information for gain if it came into their possession.

    • Total Posts 185

    The temptation to introduce ‘insider rules’ to racing of a similar type to the Stock Exchange is beguiling but IMO misleading and misguided.

    The City insider rules are based on the premise of being in possession of Facts which when they become public will, or are very likely, to affect the Share price. Such Facts are- the loss of a major contract or a production facility, or a dramatic fall in sales etc and are certainly not opinions eg we think the oil price will go up or down. Furthermore Directors or officers of the company are forbidden to deal in the shares of that Company except in ‘open periods when all relevant information is in the public domain ‘ eg after the publication of the Company annual Report. I stand to be corrected but the ‘open periods’ for Director trading are but 3 months of the year which for the main part is a closed period.

    Transferring this model to Horseracing means logically that owners and trainers would not be allowed to bet to win(they are already barred from laying their horse to lose) based on Facts in their possession. There are of course facts such as lameness or sickness which make it certain that a horse will lose but since they cannot lay a horse to lose connections cannot profit by it and in any event no trainer or owner I know would run a sick or injured horse.

    As regards facts that a horse will win I wish I could be in possession of same which I have never come across in all my years of owning horses. Opinions yes! hopes certainly – particularly when the trainer says an unraced 2y0 is pretty smart. But I have to tell you most Trainers are not that certain and many many more have gone bust by betting than the other way round. If trainers and owners are not allowed opinions and to support same by hard cash then the incentive to many owners would be lost and the sport would more and more be dominated by the big battalions.

    Horses going well at home may be a fact but since they rarely come off the bridle at home it is more probably an opinion whilst liking the going or the track are certainly ‘opinions’ which are largely in the public domain thanks to the voluminous information  available due to the RP and Timeform etc.

    The case for jockeys not betting is not due to any inside information but to the fact that they can in the course of a race effect the result which trainers and owners certainly cannot.

    The fact that the HRA has taken so long to come up with insider rules confirms to me that most people know that such a model is not appropriate.

    Personnally I think that most racing ‘inside information’ is opinion – maybe informed professional opinion ‘ but certainly not fact. My successful bets on my own horses have been due to the Trainer confirming the horse is well and bouncing at home and my opinion that the race conditions are ideal and the quoted price looks good value. That they are not facts is evidenced by the number of losers I have bet!

    • Total Posts 1593

    Galejade, your post raises an interesting point: just what would qualify as ‘insider knowledge’ worthy of punishment? Would, as you say, the trainer telling you that the horse is flying at home be classed as dishonest? Or if you’re told that there will be a change of race tactics for the horse which you think will suit, would that be cheating the bookies?

    See, I’ve been privy to such information before, and I don’t believe I’ve ever made a dishonest bet in my life.

    I think the HRA would also need to keep a very close eye on the exchanges. Because just as likely hearing a horse will run well, people will hear that a certain horse is being pulled, and will swiftly get themselves on BF or similar and open their satchel.<br>

    • Total Posts 1736


    I think you make the case very well for the HRA not going down the road of trying to implement rules to prevent the use of legitimate ‘inside information’.  It’s a definite non- runner for me.

    As you rightly say, most of this inside knowledge is opinion, often given by trainers in good faith to connections, and as such may be based on hope and optimism rather than strong convictions.

    • Total Posts 897

    They have been working on this for 2 years and it does not seem to address any of the issues that the general public or punters, rightly or wrongly, regards as "making racing dishonest". Not surprising really as they never ask them.

    HRA seem to be very gullible in falling for "inside information" as being the key to illegitimate riches. We could end up with jockies and trainers refusing to talk to the media in case they lose their livings.

    • Total Posts 80

    I see the  “artformâ€ÂÂ

    • Total Posts 2391

    To bet or not to bet – that is the question

    • Total Posts 17727

    Surely the real crime is that the information is ‘inside’ in the first place?<br>If the HRA was at all serious about a level playing field and true integrity in racing, then it should be an offence not to disclose anything which may affect a horse’s performance or its chances of running. (Which it supposedly is, though a few years on, there has yet to be one suspension).<br>They won’t, of course, because that would force them to deal with the real criminals, whereas their main concerns at the moment are keeping their paymasters happy, and glossing over the real problem by prosecuting the hapless few who occasionally stumble across a little of the truth.

    • Total Posts 1736

    reet hard,

    The more information the better, yet expecting the trainer to give a detailed report to the public about every horse surely goes too far. There is a very long list of events in training that might affect a horse’s performance, many of them where the effect is uncertain. Perhaps we should be told if a horse has been treated by a vet or is due in season or has any other medical condition. But if a horse has not slept well, or has sulked or worked poorly, who can say what effect this might have?

    Like humans, horses bring more than their physical attributes and racing characteristics to the workplace(racecourse). We all know how unpredictable people can be from day to day as a result of emotional upsets. I would think that equines are less complex than humans, but still subject to moodiness and unpredictable behaviour for no apparent reason.

    For the above reasons, I believe defining what is material as ‘insider knowledge’ would be very difficult indeed. It would be a minefield.

    It would be very interesting(to say the least) to hear what trainers think of these proposals.  

    • Total Posts 17727

    Artemis<br>The point isn’t how vague or difficult to quantify the information is.<br>It is that the information is considered vital enough to deprive some of their careers, yet at the same time of no consequence to the betting public???<br>If they can define ‘insider knowledge’, (Which they haven’t done yet, and will be a dog’s breakfast when they do), with enough conviction to prosecute someone, then they can sure as hell define it enough to ensure it is available to all.<br>The simple answer is; if it is likely to affect a horses’s performance, then we all should know about it. <br>If we don’t, then it’s insider dealing, or deception, sanctioned by the very people who purport to make our sport honest?

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