Monday, 6 September 2010


The benefits of the exchanges are outlined to Gambling Minister John Penrose MP in an open letter from Charlie Brooks of the Daily Telegraph:

You may not have been expecting to hear from me again so soon, but the ongoing impact of betting exchanges on horse racing and the scandal enveloping the Pakistan cricket team force my pen to paper.

At first glance, one might not think that a squeeze on the finances of British racing and the alleged cancerous corruption on the subcontinent are connected. But they are very much part of the same landscape, which is now your parish to sort out.

The success of betting exchanges has been a mixed blessing for horse racing. On the one hand, they have provided transparency to betting transactions previously unheard of. It is now possible, for instance, to monitor who is consistently benefiting from below par performances from horses, trainers or jockeys – which was impossible before the advent of exchanges. But the 'sunny skies’ of the exchanges are contributing significantly to the drought which horse racing is now coming to terms with.

A significant number of individuals are 'bookmaking’ on the exchanges. They are backing and laying horses, sometimes with the help of computers, and effectively being bookmakers without the burden of overheads that licensed bookmakers face. The most significant of which is the 10 per cent Levy on profits.

You, Mr. Penrose, will have to decide when recreational gambling on an exchange becomes earning a living? It is inevitable that new legislation will have to be passed. Failure to grasp this nettle will make a mockery of the necessity for bookmakers to hold a licence.

But it’s the positive aspects of exchange betting which, I believe, you should now be extolling to the cricket world. Whether they like it or not, cricket and gambling are bedfellows and the tentacles of evil are reaching around the globe.

An enlightened International Cricket Council should, with your encouragement, be considering setting up their own betting exchange; the profits of which could be returned to the sport. An official exchange is the best possible way to tackle the corruptness of illegal bookmakers. It would then, for instance, be easy to see the origin of unusual amounts of money wagered on no balls, bizarre run outs etc.

Cricket has never benefited from betting, there is no reason why it should have done. Which means there will be none of the conflicts, which are now causing strife in the horse racing world.
One side effect of the Pakistan Cricket scandal is that the Indian government is reportedly looking at proposals to legalise the country's multi-million-dollar underground gambling market to tackle corruption in cricket.
India is regarded as the hotbed of global betting syndicates, with gamblers and bookmakers involved in a massive network of illegal "spot-fixing" -- when stakes are pitched on individual balls or on short passages of play.

"The aim is to ascertain whether legalized betting can exist in India without the stigma attached to it now. So, we are looking at the pros and cons with great care," an unnamed sport ministry official told the Times of India.

1 comment:

NICK B said...

What proof has Charlie Brooks got that a significant number of individuals are bookmaking on the exchanges? Probably none! He's just guessing in my opinion. No mention of the breeding industry which is the root cause of a lot of racings ills.