Betfair Signs First MOU with North American Racing Body

4 March 2005

Betfair and the Maryland-based Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau (TRPB) have signed an agreement that will allow the bureau to monitor activity at the leading betting exchange.

Betfair announced Wednesday that the two parties have signed a memorandum of understanding similar to others that Betfair has agreed to with numerous worldwide sports and racing organizations.

According to the agreement, betting information will be provided to the TRPB when "there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the integrity of the sport may be compromised."

It's the first such deal between Betfair, a U.K. based operation, and a North American racing body and is similar to an agreement reached last year with the Miami-based Association of Tennis Professionals. Betfair offers wagering on races from a number of tracks in the United States, although it does not accept bets from U.S. residents.

The TRPB is the investigative arm of the Thoroughbred Racing Association of North America. It was created with a mandate to "expose and investigate all activity prejudicial to horse racing and to maintain public confidence in Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing."

Betfair's director of communications, Mark Davies, said the agreement solidifies the company's position as a leader in the sports betting industry when it comes to working with sports leagues and organization.

"We're once again delighted to be broadening the relationships we have with sports regulatory bodies all over the world," Davies said. "We're the first bookmaking operation anywhere to have interests exactly in line with the regulators, because of the precise risk management that our technology allows us to achieve. We look forward to working with TRPB, as we have with their colleagues in sports regulation in countries as far apart as England and Australia."

TRPB president Paul Berube said the bureau is looking forward to having more tools at its disposal when investigating betting scandals.

"We are pleased that Betfair has made this new investigative resource available to us," said. "Experience has taught that all betting activity is important no matter where and how it takes place."

The TRPB can request from Betfair any information on betting activity in North America on racing where the event has been compromised, and Betfair is obligated to provide the information to the investigating body.

Betfair in June 2004 became the first bookmaker to sign a memorandum of understanding with the U.K. Jockey Club. The group has since signed similar deals with the ATP, the Darts Regulatory Authority, the International Cricket Council, the Football Association, Cricket Australia, National Horseracing Authority of South Africa, the Rugby Football League, UEFA and the National Greyhound Racing Board.

The Betfair/TRPB agreement comes three months after heated discussions at the Symposium on Racing in which racing leaders warned that betting exchanges pose a dangerous threat to the integrity of racing. Niall Wass, Betfair's director of marketing, strategy, and business development, at the time said that his company was willing to negotiate protections for integrity as well as an appropriate financial return to American racing. He also stressed that American racing could capitalize on the mass appeal of betting exchanges and their popularity among young gamblers.

Meanwhile, the TRPB's directors voted unanimously in December during a board meeting at the symposium to form an exploratory committee to examine the possibility of creating an industry-owned betting exchange to benefit the sport.

Nobody knows where Kevin Smith came from. He simply showed up one day and started writing articles for IGN. We liked him, so we decided to keep him. We think you'll like him too. Kevin can be reached at