BHA forum chief wants betting public to influence industry

BHA forum chief wants betting public to influence industry

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 Totally Gaming
Simon Rowlands wants punters to interact with Racing

The new chair of the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) forum for punters believes the betting public now has a greater chance of influencing the industry.

Simon Rowlands, also head of research and development for global horseracing data analysts Timeform, told that it is important that bettors are given the opportunity to be heard, highlighting their role as stakeholders in the sport rather than just a cash cow through their wagers.

The Horseracing Bettors Forum will welcome input from the public and then deliver proposals and recommendations to both the BHA and BHA Racing Betting Group for developments that would be of benefit to the wider community that wagers on racing in the UK.

“I am hoping the Forum will allow the nine million people who bet annually on British horseracing to have a formal means to express their thoughts about issues which relate to their activity,” Rowlands said.

“While the Forum will be merely advisory, at least to begin with, I am confident those thoughts will get a fair hearing if they are reasonable and constructive. It should be possible to come up with ideas, advice and solutions that are to the benefit of both bettors and the sport at large.”

The new Forum, which will meet on a quarterly basis to discuss topics, will also consider proposals provided by the BHA for feedback on how they would be received by the betting public.

Rowlands feels it is important that the betting industry and Racing work closely together, and believes the appointment of Nick Rust as BHA chief executive will aid this.  

“Speaking personally, I find the situation whereby Racing’s funding is predicated on extracting as much money as possible from punters, via the betting industry, to be unhealthy when those punters are at the same time recognised as stakeholders in the sport," Rowlands told

“The betting industry is capable of doing much good work in promoting Racing in return, but the sport is only one of its concerns, not its sole concern.

“The influence the betting industry has over some sections of the Racing media is also a cause of concern. Nonetheless, I am optimistic that the relationship between the betting industry and Racing will prosper under Nick Rust.”

Rowlands has made it clear that the Forum will not be a vehicle for him to push his own opinions and ideas, but does have some thoughts as to what might be discussed.

“I would be surprised if the scope, consistency and timeliness of data provision, and the relationship between race planning and betting, were not discussed at an early juncture,” he said.

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