This is Part 9 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.
Suspicious betting alerts were generated across five races at one U.S. track in the fourth quarter of 2020.
It was the first time the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) registered such alerts on American racing.
The betting they monitor is through licensed European-based betting operators, many of whom are offering bets on American racing at fixed odds. Up until at least the start of the “Wagering Insecurity” series, no U.S. regulators had an information-sharing relationship with the IBIA.
Worldwide wagering requires worldwide monitoring.
While American customers cannot yet legally partake in such wagers outside a few races booked by Nevada casinos, the practice is soon to come to New Jersey residents and it has been a growing business overseas.
One bookmaker estimates the total handle on U.S. racing at fixed odds for European customers in 2020 at more than $1 billion.
No matter where the wagering takes place, regulators and stewards must be attentive to the potential integrity threats facing the sport.
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