By: Joe Cahal
They’ve taken their sweet time about it but the British Horse Racing Authority seems to have finally woken up and joined the 21st century by setting up the Horseracing Bettors Forum – establishing for the first time ever a formal route of communication between punters and the governing body.
Long criticised for neglecting the people who are the sports veritable life-blood the BHA is being praised for finally doing something to acknowledge the importance of punters to the success of the sport.
“There are nine million people who bet on British racing each year,” said Nick Rust, the BHA chief executive. “They are an essential part of our sport and as such it is vital that the needs and wishes of those individuals – who are stakeholders in the industry – are properly considered. That is the purpose of this forum.”
To benefit bettors
The forum is aimed at helping the BHA to improve and develop horseracing to the benefit of bettors who will advise and share ideas through the new body.
It is part of what Rust calls the formalisation of a “tripartite structure between the BHA, horsemen and racecourses,” and, he says: ” the betting public will be given a formal route of communication into the BHA for the first time.”
A major aim of the forum is first reverse the decline in betting on British horse races and then increase participation levels by 5% over the next five years.
The forum is set to meet every three months and will consist of up to eight members and will be chaired by Simon Rowlands, Timeform’s head of research and development.
He said: “I am delighted to be asked to play a leading role in this initiative, the like of which I have recommended previously. I see the forum as working towards a better future for bettors on horseracing and for the sport itself – the two need not be mutually exclusive – but it will be concerned with general matters and not with individual disputes.”
Up for discussion will be the race programme and fixture list as too the level of data and information provided for bettors – including clearer details about the betting products available and other new innovations of benefit to the sport.
It could be you!
Rust is inviting anyone with “strong views, ideas and a passion for British racing” to apply for one of the positions, and Rowlands added:
“There are some smart and knowledgeable individuals out there who can make a positive difference if they wish to become involved. The emphasis will be on bringing a fresh and independent approach to the task in hand, and on understanding the needs and wishes of the betting public, rather than on pursuing personal agendas.”
If you think you can make a difference and have the passion, ideas and opinions that will benefit racing fans and punters you can apply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – just describe your credentials and why you’re the perfect person join the Horseracing Bettors Forum.