TIF Wagering Insecurity, Part 2 – Intertwined

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Sarah Andrew

This is Part 2 of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation's (TIF) series “Wagering Insecurity.”

   Faced with remarkable competitive pressure from the rise of legal sports betting, horse racing is at a crossroads. Confidence amongst horseplayers and horse owners is essential to the future sustainability of the sport. Efforts to improve the greater North American Thoroughbred industry will fall flat if its stakeholders fail to secure a foundation of integrity. Achieving this is growing increasingly difficult after the sport has neglected its core base–horseplayers–for decades. “Wagering Insecurity” details some of that neglect, and the need to embrace serious reform. Fortunately, there are examples across the racing world to follow.

Corruption resides at the intersection of significant financial gain and loose regulation. Purses boosted by subsidies from slots and other non-racing wagering present a robust opportunity for illicit activity but the sport's regulatory structure has not kept pace, either with other racing jurisdictions around the world or modern sports.

Jack Anderson, a leading global expert on sports integrity, was the keynote speaker at the University of Arizona's Global Symposium on Racing in 2018, presenting “Integrity in the World of Commercial Sport.”

Director of Sports Law at the University of Melbourne, he advises the Asian Racing Federation's Council on Anti-Illegal Betting and Related Financial Crime (ARFCAIB), whose work will also be referenced later in this series, and is a current member of both the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal and the International Tennis Federation's Ethics Commission, among other roles.

He spoke with TIF about the relationship between doping and other illegal activity to affect the outcomes of sporting events.

“Effective doping control is of course a vital element of the integrity objectives of a sport such as racing but it should not be the sole integrity concern and should not be seen in isolation.

“Doping in a sport such as racing is often intertwined with gambling interests, which in turn may be symptomatic of wider illicit or even criminal involvement in the sport.

“Studies commissioned by racing regulators in Great Britain and Australia noted an immediate concern with levels of criminality in the sport, attracted to the money and image laundering opportunities presented by the sport's long association with gambling.”

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