|Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, director of racing for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, has said that betting exchanges, two of which has recently established operations targeting the Hong Kong market, are a threat to racing’s integrity. |
'For me, this is the biggest threat to racing’s integrity, and it is a worldwide threat,' Engelbrecht-Bresges told the South China Morning Post. 'I admire the idea of the exchange—it is very clever—and I don’t question the integrity of the people running the site. In fact, I can see that the idea may have some merit on sports where integrity is not a central issue. However, their growth in relation to horse racing is very negative and will place racing control in an impossible position. Every jurisdiction in the world should work with government to ban this.'
Betting exchanges bypass the bookmaker and the Tote (similar to OTB in the US), allowing bettors the chance to set their own odds or wager on odds a fellow punter has set. Betfair recently entered the Hong Kong racing market, and it already had accepted wagers on US and British horse racing. Another exchange, Spinbet, is set to begin operations.
Betting exchanges have been compared to a stock exchange where investors study bids and asked prices on thousands of stocks. Engelbrecht-Bresges dismissed the comparison.
'Every investor on the stock market has stringent registration requirements before they can invest, so there is the capability of monitoring actions,' Engelbrecht-Bresges said. 'Exchanges are ideal vehicles for illegal bookmakers to balance their books, too, so [a betting exchange’s] operation assists that area of gambling.'