Too much pressure on trainers and jockeys: Steve McMahon is concerned about in-the-run betting. Photo: Chris LaneA Federal Government review of online gambling has heard jockeys and trainers are concerned about the heightened integrity risks posed by after-the-jump betting as the role of in-play wagering in both sport and racing continues to come under the microscope.
The NSW Trainers’ Association has tabled a submission to the inquiry into the antiquated Interactive Gambling Act claiming its members – as well as jockeys – had voiced concerns about the scope for criticism from in-the-run bettors.
It has been used to complement recommendations from some of the country’s top racing administrators who are wary of the integrity risk of betting during a race and the explosion of in-play wagering on heavily promoted sporting markets.
In-play betting on racing is currently considered legal.
Betting exchange Betfair has long cornered the local market allowing punters to match bets after the jump, but larger Australian corporate bookmakers such as British-owned Sportsbet and William Hill have begun to dabble in taking wagers after a race has begun.
It has prompted the NSW Trainers’ Association to write to the inquiry about fears “jockeys and trainers are under enough pressure as it is without having to deal with accusations brought about by ‘live in the run betting’ “.
“I think it just adds another element we don’t need and just poses another question over the heads of participants that is not needed,” outgoing NSW Trainers’ Association chief executive Steve McMahon said.
“There is already enough pressure on trainers and jockeys to perform as it is. When betting on the run becomes more and more prevalent it’s just another aspect of integrity you have to worry about.
“By not having it it just takes away another aspect of doubt that is passed on a trainer and jockey.”
Worldwide sports integrity officials are on red alert after recent claims that a core group of 16 players – all of whom have been ranked in the top 50 – were regularly referred to tennis governing bodies about match-fixing concerns.
Cricket authorities are also grappling with match-fixing and spot-fixing allegations as bookmakers seek to increase their ability to offer in-play betting on sporting contests that can run for several hours.
Racing’s notoriously quick nature means the opportunities for in-play betting are far less, but William Hill promoted an in-the-run service on selected races during the Melbourne spring carnival last year.
Its customers were allowed to back a runner at its fixed odds price for up to 20 to 30 seconds after a race had begun.
It’s understood executives were happy with the uptake of the service, but it is unclear whether it will return for the Sydney autumn carnival.
Sportsbet has also trialled the service with a cut-off on bets shortly after the jump.
The Australian Media and Communications Authority has asked the Australian Federal Police to review the legality of online in-play betting on sports, with some bookmakers exploiting what they say are loopholes in the law to allow wagering through smartphones.
Laws currently state that bets can only be taken over the phone or in person after a sporting event has begun.
The Federal Government is expected to rule on the controversial service’s legality in coming months.
The trainers’ submission to the IGA review also says racing will leak scores of punters to sports betting if the in-play betting laws are relaxed, in turn having the potential to cost thousands of jobs.
“The funding issue [for the racing industry] is that the more live betting there is on sport means the punting dollar will only go so far,” McMahon said. “It’s a lot easier to be live betting on a 90-minute soccer game than it is on a 90-second horse race.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.