Former chief steward warns against betting exchanges
By paul
Betting exchanges - which allow punters to bet and lay odds against each other, rather than going through a bookmaker - are facing a fierce backlash from the traditional racing establishment. One example of the strong feelings the exchanges face is the recent comments of John Schreck, a

former chief steward in Australia, Singapore, Macau, and Hong Kong and currently a consultant to the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Speaking on a Sky Racing Television panel discussion on Sunday, Schreck said that the huge, sudden growth of betting exchanges was because of indecisiveness and inaction from the rest of the betting industry. They are

here to stay. Racing has to get on the front foot and take positive action to control, manage, and regulate them, and possibly even run them themselves.' Schreck said.

The racing industry and governments must unite to fight betting exchanges operated by 'faceless bootleggers raping the sport,' said Shreck.

Schreck claimed that betting exchanges contributed nothing at all to racing or to governments, or offered a token payment that was well below the amount contributed by legal bookmakers and totalisators - something that the leading betting exchange, Betfair.com, would no doubt refute.

Betting exchanges appeal to 'the ‘uppie’ generation that liked to play with its computers and the new generation of technology,' Schreck said, but that under the anonymity guaranteed by the exchanges there was no means by which

racing authorities could police the system.

'There has to be a prima facie case for criminal proceedings before (betting exchanges) will give any information,' Schreck said, 'but if racing authorities are denied access to the information how are they to know whether there is criminal activity?'

Schreck cited as cause for anxiety the inability of authorities to investigate if licensed persons, such as trainers and jockeys, were illegally betting, and also who was betting on horses to lose when they should be winners, or on winners who should be losers.

Of course, it could be argued - as Betfair has - that the audit trail left by the technology - IP logging, credit card details etc - offer more sophisticated ways of tracking who is betting on what.

Schreck said betting exchanges had grown so quickly because the industry had just let it happen, and were continuing to grow while those within the industry debated what to do, or even whether to do anything at all.

'They are here to stay. Racing has to get on the front foot and take positive action to control, manage, and regulate them, and possibly even run them themselves.' Schreck said.

Schreck pointed out that betting exchanges contributed nothing at all to racing or to governments, or offered a token payment that was well below the amount contributed by legal bookmakers and totalisators.

Betting exchanges had great appeal to 'the ‘uppie’ generation that liked to play with its computers and the new generation of technology,' Schreck said, but that under the anonymity guaranteed by the exchanges there was no means by which racing authorities could police the system.

'There has to be a prima facie case for criminal proceedings before (betting exchanges) will give any information,' Schreck said, 'but if racing authorities are denied access to the information how are they to know

whether there is criminal activity?'

Schreck cited as cause for anxiety the inability of authorities to investigate if licensed persons, such as trainers and jockeys, were illegally betting, and also who was betting on horses to lose when they should be winners, or on winners who should be losers.

The integrity of racing worldwide was at stake, Schreck said.




 
 
 
 
 
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