Talking Horses: BetBright disgrace is a test for Gambling Commission

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This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. I’m afraid that deflating outcome appears to be a real possibility. I spoke with the solicitor Harry Stewart-Moore, who has acted for several professional punters. “In our experience it can be very difficult to interest the Gambling Commission in the sort of bookmaker conduct that one would expect to fall squarely within the regulator’s remit,” he said.“The usual answer to any referral is that the Commission does not involve itself in individual disputes. Quite what this means or why it is so has never been clear to us. In any event, the manner in which it tackles this latest situation with BetBright could prove a real test for the regulator.”It is so important that the GC makes BetBright live up to its responsibilities over those ante-post bets, because legal action is the only other recourse on the table and it’s asking a lot for a punter to take the firm to court, especially if there’s a question over BetBright’s ability to pay that punter’s legal fees in the event of success.BetBright’s executive chairman, Rich Ricci, said this week that refunding stakes on the firm’s ante-post bets was felt to be the fairest way forward after the firm sold its technology to a rival. “We’re left with a situation which isn’t ideal,” he said, “where the company doesn’t have the engine to carry on and trade and needs to be wound up in an orderly way. We talked about it a lot and decided this would be the most equitable thing to do for most people.”This time last week, Labour’s Tom Watson was saying that online gambling is “totally lacking adequate regulation”. Well, hear hear. But he seems to think stake limits are part of the way forward, which, when applied to sports betting, I find completely mad. Is he going to attach a means test to that provision? Support The Guardian Topics Gambling Quick guide Racing tips for Friday 8 March Horse racing Leicester 1.50 Hatcher 2.20 Cobra De Mai 2.50 Quantum Of Solace 3.25 Waikiki Waves 4.00 Eastlake 4.30 WaitinonasunnydaySandown 2.00 Precious Cargo 2.30 Bonne Question 3.05 Forza Milan (nb) 3.40 Keltus 4.10 Swift Crusador (nap) 4.45 Young WolfLingfield 2.10 Choral Music 2.40 Holy Tiber 3.15 Warrior’s Valley 3.5 Air Force Amy 4.20 Affluence 4.55 Sister Of The SignNewcastle 5.20 Seeusoon 5.55 Klopp 6.30 Pea Shooter 7.00Lukoutoldmakezebak 7.30 Kodi Dream 8.00 Star Cracker Tips by Chris Cook Share on LinkedIn Was this helpful? Horse racing tips Hide I suspect Watson and some of his colleagues see gambling as a rotten world that should be closed down step by step. But I think a dramatic improvement could be achieved with vigorous policing, of a kind that the Commission does not yet offer. We need politicians to make sure it has the necessary powers and then insist on them being used.Speaking of regulators, the British Horseracing Authority told me it would not be commenting on the BetBright mess, which I find disappointing, bearing in mind that many of BetBright’s customers will also be racing’s customers.Today’s best bets, by Chris CookWith a sigh, we turn to Friday’s racing in hope of finding some solace there. Swift Crusador (4.10) is one that appeals to me at 8-1, returning to the course and distance over which he won in December. He didn’t look entirely comfortable on a drier surface at Newbury next time but he ought to be competitive again here, just 5lbs higher than for his win.He’ll carry the owner’s second colours but the two runners are from different yards. I’d rather take him at the odds, bearing in mind it was a weak race that Cesar Collonges won on Boxing Day.Forza Milan (3.05) didn’t take to fences but this is a very fair mark for him back over hurdles and he’s 7-1. At Leicester, Waitinonasunnyday (4.30) looks the pick of the card at 2-1. Read morecenter_img Thank you for your feedback. Rich Ricci defends voided stakes at BetBright amid punter fury I got a new line out of the Gambling Commission on Thursday night, when I asked what they were doing about the disgraceful goings-on at BetBright. A spokesman said: “We are clearly concerned that an operator has indicated that it will void all outstanding ante-post bets and are urgently engaging with the business, with the aim of achieving the best possible outcome for consumers.”Which is encouraging, but only up to a very limited point. This controversy has been rumbling on for days. Why does the GC not reassure us that bookmakers are simply not allowed to act in this way? Why is there no suggestion of sanction against those involved? Can it be that, when the Commission has finished being “concerned”, it might not actually take any action? Share on WhatsApp Show The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Share on Facebook Read more Share via Email Talking Horses Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img

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