Spot betting – racing concerns

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Spot-betting, the exotic types of betting that have landed three Pakistani cricketers in prison, is rightfully being question by Victoria’s leading trainer Peter Moody.

It is the more about the betting on the sidelines of a race result rather than the result itself eg betting on margins, sectional times, head to head results of two horses regardless if they both finish near the tail etc.

The Pakistanis nominated when no ball would be bowled and punted up big time.

Moody, who doesn’t bet, has concerns.

“It leads to innuendo, surely,” Moody said.

“Say someone has a big bet on Black Caviar at $3 to win by three lengths. You’d have bookmakers hollering when it got up.”

But it’s not only a dangerous to jockeys and trainers but also officials.

Just look at the Melbourne Cup result for an example.

Some corporate bookmakers were betting on the margins and giving $300 about a dead-heat in the big race.

It looks fine value, but in truth can anyone remember a dead heat in a Group 1 race?

And if there was ever going to be one, it would have been the 2011 Melbourne Cup.

Playing the devil’s advocate – if a sizeable bet went on a Cup dead-heat and we had what we had, four prints to separate two horses – one may put a case that the officials were finding a margin that wasn’t there – are they working for the bookie?

Or if the first print was considered good enough and the public found out there was indeed a margin – are the officials part of the gamble?

Can anyone really tell if a horse runs 24.3 sec or 24.2 sec for the last 400m of a race. A greyhound 30.12 sec or 30.14 sec for 515m.

It is not only about perception.

What’s happened in NSW harness racing and two stewards this year tells us no judicial system in infallible.

And let us go to the champ herself – Black Caviar.

Her undefeated 16 wins have undoubtedly been the best thing for racing since Makybe Diva.

She has remained undefeated as her jockeys Jarrod Noske, Ben Melham and Luke Nolen have looked after her in a finish.

No need to flog her to line – there would not have been many times where she couldn’t have extended those victory by at least two more lengths.

If spot betting existed on a large scale, would there come the time when a rule dictates a jockey must push a horse right out despite the fact it is going to win anyway?

It would be detrimental to the horse’s long term, but true to the punter.

Many would say it would not happen – but never say never – look at the GST, Carbon Tax., whip rules – All you need is one average/good leader (depending on your view)  and there it is.

Chairman of the Australian Jockeys’ Association Ross Inglis said betting on margins and sectional times could lead to corruption.

“I have concerns about it,” he said.

“Say they have a who-can-run-last bet and there’d be three jockeys seeing who could apply the brakes the hardest.

“It is a perception issue, certainly.

“Jockeys are open to enough pressure, who’s to say someone won’t approach a jockey to ensure a margin in a race.”

Racing authorities have the power to approve and remove exotic bets.

Racing Victoria’s chief executive Rob Hines said the wagers would be scrutinised, but he was confident RVL’s bet monitoring was sophisticated enough to pick up and weed out rorts.

“Having said that, it’s relatively new and it’s something we will keep a very close eye on,” Hines said.

“We’re walking a fine line, we encourage bookmakers to come up with different bet options on racing to keep pace with other sports, but … integrity is paramount.”

Bookmaking firms say there are only small punters betting on such type of bets and that is crux of the matter.

If something was dodgy, the bets would be bigger, possibly easier to weed out unless those who are supposed to be protecting racing are indeed on the other side.

It is simple, there should be a monetary limit on spot betting. A maximum bet of perhaps $20. Corporates have records of accounts and it can be monitored.

It would take a pretty good operation to organize something substantial within those limits, not impossible but effort with more risks.

Inglis said the Victorian and NSW Jockeys’ Associations would discuss spot-betting at upcoming meetings and would have a formal view in the coming weeks.


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