Jockeys, Exchange Wagering And The Risk of ‘Inside Information’

by | 03.07.2016 | 11:46am
Jockey Fergal Lynch
Jockey Fergal Lynch

Earlier this winter I got a call from a South Florida owner asking about a jockey who had won the previous day's final race at Gulfstream Park at odds of 36-1.

“His name was F. Lynch,” the owner said. “I think he got into some kind of trouble in England.”

“That would be Fergal Lynch (or Feargal, as his first name is spelled by Equibase),” I told him. “He was banned some years back by the British Horseracing Authority for his part in a betting scandal.”

“Then why is he allowed to race here?” the owner asked me.

“Well, there's two ways to look at this,” I replied. “Either you give someone a second chance after they serve their time for what they did wrong or you ban them for life.”

I happen to believe in second chances. Lynch served his time.

The Fergal Lynch saga dates back to 2004 when he provided inside information to Miles Rodgers, a horse owner and gambler who was using the information to place “lay” bets on numerous betting exchanges (betting against horses to win). Lynch spoke to Rodgers by telephone before an August 2004 race at Ripon racecourse. London police secretly recorded the conversation. Lynch would later admit, as a result of that conversation, he held a well-backed horse named Bond City, preventing it from winning.

Though a criminal trial for race fixing ended with acquittals for Rodgers, Lynch and four others in 2007, the British Horseracing Authority pursued its case against the jockey and in July 2009 a plea bargained deal resulted in a £50,000 fine and an agreement by Lynch not to ride in the UK for a year.

Lynch had moved to the United States and was riding at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania, where he was among the leading jockeys, with 103 victories from 655 mounts in 2009. After the ruling in the United Kingdom, however, Parx banned him as well.

An effort by Lynch to regain his license in 2011 was denied by the British Horseracing Authority, but he was eventually licensed in Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, France, and Germany. In August 2014, nearly 10 years after the incident in question at Ripon, the British Horseracing Authority relented, giving Lynch his license back, a decision that was not universally embraced.

Lynch, now 38, has made the most of his reinstatement. He was among the UK's top 20 jockeys by wins in 2015 (57 from 409 rides), guided Mondialiste to a Grade 1 victory at Woodbine in Canada last September, and just a week after that rode four winners on one card at Hamilton Park in the UK. He spent this winter at Gulfstream Park, where he's had a tough time breaking through, riding three winners so far from 103 mounts.

But Lynch's biggest contribution to the sport may have come while in front of a camera.

Last year, in a public service video produced by the British Horseracing Authority, Lynch spoke openly about his relationship with Rodgers, not only providing him with inside information but having Rodgers place bets for him. “I foolishly thought that I would get away with it,” Lynch said in the video.

“Looking back it's cost me everything,” he said. “I've lost 10 years of my riding career that I'll never get back. I'll never be able to wipe the slate clean and everybody will forget about it. It's going to stay with me for the rest of my life.”

The video, which includes advice to young riders on what to do if approached by gamblers for inside information, was not available for Darren Egan, an apprentice rider who got caught up in a similar “lay” betting scandal in 2013 and recently received a 12-year suspension from the British Horseracing Authority that affected his ability to be licensed by the California Horse Racing Board as an exercise rider.

American-based riders should take heed.

Exchange wagering is coming soon to the United States, with New Jersey expected to be the first state to get on-board. Residents of the Garden State eventually will be able to bet against horses winning at Monmouth Park and other tracks that Betfair reaches agreement with for exchange wagering. Jockeys and other “insiders” need to know that passing information along for the purposes of gambling can lead to serious consequences. They should also know that Betfair has advanced technology that can recognize unusual betting patterns.

Not everyone is willing to give you a second chance.

With Exchange Wagering coming soon to New Jersey, would you like to see it permitted in your state?
  • Old Timer

    All good points Ray. The algorithms used today to catch suspect betting behaviors has advanced so much that if someone was to try and do this stuff today, it’s highly unlikely they could get away with it. They may once, but twice and they would for sure get nailed.

    Same holds true for horsemen also though. If they think they can stiff one and get away with it. The betting patterns are pretty easy to see and it’s all easy to track since it has to all be on the exchange and open for Betfair and the state to watch closely. Not like the good ole days when I could anonymously walk up to a window and drop a thousand or two and no one would have any idea who I was.

    • drib

      I have had a long history with Betfair exchange wagering, whose greatest success is in the UK/Ireland and Australia. For over a hundred years, bookmaking has been a significant presence in these venues; thus baked into the game are entities who can make a profit from losers. US racing lacks the decades of experience in patrolling such a sport. Beware the introduction of this type of wagering.

      • Carl Wilson

        What trash you talk drib.

      • The baked in entities were traditionally licensed bookmakers, their affairs subject to scrutiny, and they could be assumed to be obliged to oppose every horse in a race. Obviously those “safeguards” were not absolute, however there was little real danger of backing a horse that the layer Knew For A Fact Would Not Win, because he would [almost] always win on the race whichever horse won. The exchange system lets unregulated individuals oppose a single horse. Beware indeed.

    • Carl Wilson

      Exactly, Old Timer

  • betsalot

    I know I pick more losers than winners

    • larry

      Freedom 55 here we come! a thousand dollars on the 99 to one shot to lose!

      • Tinky

        Probably did’t occur to you that you’d need $100,000 in your account in order to strike that wager.

        • Five

          Tinky..larry would not need $100,000 to strike that wager.
          But he would win only $10 if the 99/1 lose.
          Risking $1,000 to win $10……..worst than bridgejumping.
          And, you need a “taker” for the bet.

          • Tinky

            You’re wrong, at least in the context of the way he phrased it.

            If you want to lay a 99/1 horse for $1000, your exposure would be $99,000, hence the need for $100k.

            What you are saying is that if he would bet $10, not $1000.

          • Five

            Tinky……breathe……..breathe…..
            You’re wrong, at least in the context of the way you read it.
            If “larry” is playing for the “horse” to lose, he becomes the “bookie”.
            So, he will pay out $99 to any taker’s $1.
            If he bets, $1,000, that’s his prerogative, NOT $100,000, he “gets”
            the “taker’s” $10 +/-
            I doubt, anyone can ” get rich” risking $99 to get back $1. more

          • Tinky

            You still don’t get it.

            “a thousand dollars on the 99 to one shot to lose!”

            If Larry meant that he only wanted to risk 10 dollars, he would have said “ten dollars on the 99 to one shot to lose!”, not “a thousand”

            While this is, in a sense, a semantic issue, you apparently have no actual experience with Betfair.

            Anyone laying horses would of course be well-advised to consider their liabilities, but no one planning to lay a horse in order to win $10 would exclaim “$1000 on the three horse to lose!”

          • Five

            Tinky…..go back to bed…and get up on the other side.

          • Tink, even though you and I disagree, we at least understand the basics!

        • larry

          l like to jump off bridges

  • Robert

    Exchange wagering works in Europe. Betfair exchange wagering handle is astronomical. Exchange wagering provides a clear path/product for large institutional dollars and a revenue source that does not exist. Tell me why anyone in their right mind would not want exchange wagering?

    Afraid of change? How is that working out? The industry is circling the drain.

    Afraid of cheating? Have you ever heard of the stock market? The SEC? Regardless of the endeavor there will always be a small fraction of people looking to cut corners. If we, as a society, did not act because there might be “some bad actors” – nothing would get done – ever.

    High expectations of a perfect product or perfect behavior when humans are involved are completely misguided.

    The benefits of exchange wagering pale (More $) in comparison to the costs (A small number of cheaters).

    • Tinky

      Don’t you mean to say that the benefits far outweigh the costs?

      • Robert

        Yes – Good catch. Benefits far outshine the costs. Thank you.

        • Tinky

          We are in complete agreement.

        • Carl Wilson

          Well said Robert!!!

    • Carl Wilson

      Well said Robert!

  • larry

    This is what l have been saying all along the corruption is in the tote. Information is power and the tracks and the tote companies do not need to know how many pick six tickets are alive between races. Technology is going to ruin the industry. l just don t trust the people running these for profit racetracks or tote companies, which in some cases are one and the same . Wake up people the inquiry sign and owner appeals are the perfect ruse to exploit the public the way it is currently is being run and the government lives with there heads up there asses on this issue. May the last person to leave remember to turn out the lights.

  • Charles Smith

    The story of Mr. Lynch, an accomplished rider prior to his alleged involvement in the exchange wagering scandal referenced in this article speaks volumes regarding the can of worms opened by exchange wagering.
    If you review the history of exchange wagering scandals overseas, you’ll see that not only hungry riders and down on their luck trainers have been caught up. Horsemen who, on the surface, would not seen to be in a position to NEED to be involved in these schemes end up stepping right in it and, SOMETIMES, they don’t get away with it and are held responsible.
    I’ve held an owners license since the late 70’s. I wish I had a dollar for every time since I got underway as a race horse owner that a racing secretary or some one else in the racing office contacted my trainer attempting to hustle a horse that needed more time prior to running. “We need him”, “just give him a race”, “we’ve been good to you, you’ve been getting the stalls you need”, etc. etc.
    There’s no symbol in the PP’s that means “Horse hustled for race”. As a result, the betting public, especially with horses that show good pp’s, don’t know what hit them until they see the horse they bet on with the expectation it was racing to win, finishing far up the track. Hey, some times a hustled horse will run well, get a piece, even win on rare occasion, but the vast majority of the time, horses that are hustled are in to fill fields and race makes go, and they run accordingly.
    Exchange wagering will bring out the worst in some horsemen, and I will be very leery about betting New Jersey racing from now on.
    It will be very easy for horsemen to run horses they know full well are not ready to win, and make money at the same time.

    • Tinky

      The idea that corruption is somehow far more attractive with exchange wagering is unsupportable nonsense. See my primary post on this thread to learn why.

      The reason that there have been some high-profile scandals in the U.K. is not because corruption amongst riders suddenly blossomed with exchange wagering, but because security is much more effective under the very system that people like Charles are attempting to discredit.

      • Charles Smith

        Thank you for your esteemed opinion, have a wonderful day.

        • Tinky

          An unwillingness to debate is further evidence of the lack of substance in your position.

          • Charles Smith

            I’ve found that it’s best not to engage trolls in cyberspace, it just emboldens them.

          • Tinky

            Ah yes, ad hominem attacks are certain to strengthen your views in the eyes of readers.

            Keep on digging, Charles.

          • Charles Smith

            You’re quick to troll, but when someone with a big name in the industry makes a statement in this forum, you haven’t the nerve to utter a peep to him. You troll certain people, but you’re too frightened to address Barry Irwin.

          • Charles Smith

            Since you appreciate latin, here’s my latin for you…vos autem vecors. Go back to your pathetic little corner of cyberspace and don’t come out until you find the courage to post under your own name instead of trolling and flaming under a assumed identity.

          • Charles Smith

            I noted a Barry Irwin post on this subject, but no response from you….picking your spots Mr. Fields?

          • Tinky

            Charles –

            Your three posts above are a fitting climax to a very sad and revealing progression.

            First, you posted something with substance, albeit with a weak foundation that I exposed in various posts on this thread.

            Next, in response to my criticism, you engaged in several ad hominem attacks.

            Finally, you resorted to transparently dishonest nonsense.

            I frequently engage Barry Irwin and other “big names” who appear on this forum. Furthermore, Barry offered nothing of substance to support his dramatic and sweeping assertion.

            I have spelled out why the fears of exchange platforms are overblown, and why they are superior to pari-mutuel platforms. Neither you, nor Barry, nor anyone else has contributed any substantial rebuttal of my observations.

            Finally, I happen to be in Europe at the moment, and so was sound asleep when Barry first posted. So, contrary to your sad fantasies, there was a simple explanation for why I did not respond more quickly to him (or you).

      • Andres Aponte

        How can exchange wagering be more secure ? There r thousands of ways to loose a race and there will be more invented.,sick jokeys hurt horses, wrong equipment.,tired horses. High weight etc,etc.

        • Carl Wilson

          Because there is a trail of every bet made, and who made it Andres. You can’t hide, it is totally transparent.

      • Tink, we’ve discussed this: you know that I know [sorry for clumsy sentence!] that you’re wrong about this one.

        • Tinky

          I don’t mind a clumsily constructed sentence, Bill, but I don’t know that!

    • Charles Smith

      There’s no stopping a trainer, owner or rider from engaging a “beard” who is not licensed from making their bets for them in a exchange scenario. They might only be able to do it on a limited number of occasions, but if they make enough money when they do have a chance, what will they care?

      • Tinky

        More nonsense. Good luck finding “beards” who will be willing to risk a prison term, or wouldn’t squeal if pressed.

        • togahombre

          the reasoning used when someone commits a crime like this is that their too smart to get caught, so the punishment is of no concern

      • Carl Wilson

        No there initially is not Charles. But then a pattern begins to emerge with those folks. What they do once, they will try to repeat. Betfair monitors suspicious activity from unknown third parties as much as it does direct connections. This is actually where most people get nailed.

        • The vast majority of people will never get nailed – and the ones that do are often ritual offerings.

      • JAILBERD

        AND, JOCKEY AGENTS….

      • JAILBERD

        My grandpappy used to say: That the top jockeys pick a race every few days, and let the lessor jockeys win, place show. To help them make a living? Is this a myth? Is there any article on the so called: “jockey’s” race? Also, I curious to learn more about how jockey agents fit into the scheme of things. They sure seem like they are feeding out a lot of information… They have the pulse of the backstretch…know owners…usually great memories. Have Racing Secretaries writing races for horses. Some run 3 jockeys. If the have a bug. I smell a bigger Rat with jockey agents, then people seem to be implying. No one even mentions them? Or, when you say Jockey…you mean Jockey and agent ?

    • Carl Wilson

      It is precisely because of exchange wagering computer systems and wager tracking that Fergal Lynch was caught.

      • Without the exchanges neither the facility nor the temptation to profit from a defeat were easily available to [particularly lesser] riders and their playmates. That’s not to say that there were never relationships between some [often top] riders and bookmakers – but horses being beaten to order was nothing like as common as it seems today. Has the fight against Paedophelia [for example] been advanced by internet surveillance – or has the crime itself exploded due to increased availability?

        • Matthew Hood

          It’s a way to bring a cheater to light. When one has that mindset they will find a way. This security just helps catch them.

  • Tinky

    It’s amazing how many people fail to understand the true implications of “laying” horses.

    It apparently never occurs to them that when betting on every type sport, and most individual sports, one is laying, or betting against a team or player. People have been conditioned to think that the bettors are betting ON the Packers, or Lakers, or Serana Williams, but in fact, it would be just as accurate to say that they are betting AGAINST the opponents of those teams or players.

    There are enormous sums wagered on football, baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, etc., and yet almost no one is wringing their hands over the fact that billions are essentially bet on teams and players to lose.

    The other blind spot that reflexive critics of exchange wagering tend to display is the lack of understanding of how holding horses in a pari-mutuel context is even more attractive to cheaters.

    There are two reasons for this. First, because exotic wagers offer bettors opportunities to leverage their knowledge to a powerful degree. If you know that a short-priced horse isn’t going to finish in the top two or three, the possibilities for huge returns dwarf those of straight betting on exchanges. Secondly, it is still possible to bet large sums in cash, and collect anonymously at racetracks. That cannot be done through exchanges, and so the security is far superior under the latter system.

    • togahombre

      sounds alot like exotic wall street plays, puts’, shorting, futures options, so it can’t be all bad?

      • Tinky

        Exchange wagering, if implemented properly ( a BIG if), would have an enormously positive impact on American racing handle.

        What you suggest is a part of that, as anyone who works in the markets would be naturally attracted to exchanges. There are possibilities for arbitrage, as well, which is one of the sweetest types of betting that one can do.

        Say a first-starter opens up at a short price, but you are skeptical of it for some reason. You can lay it at the early price, and, if you are correct about the likely betting pattern, back it at a higher price before the race even starts. You might well be in a position to win money irrespective of whether the horse wins or loses the race!

        • togahombre

          i understand your point, and to a large degree am on board with it, but currently, like the financial markets, the powers that be in racing are way behind the hustlers, it’s like sending the chickens out to catch the fox

          • Tinky

            Yes, it would obviously be crucial to create good security, and exact serious punishments in order to discourage cheating. But again, exchanges are intrinsically far superior to pari-mutuel systems in terms of security.

        • Michael Castellano

          I can’t argue that there would not be short time gains in handle, but that can easily be offset by the message it sends to the general uninformed public, where if racing is to survive long term, it must gather newer and younger fans/wagerers. It may be harder to cheat by losing on purpose than it is by winning with “the juice”, but that will not be the public’s impression and also that of many racing fans, where racing is viewed by many to be already corrupt. At a time when many need convincing that horses are not being “juiced” to win, introducing wagering on when a horse will lose just seems like another betting method subject to similar manipulations. The timing is very bad to introduce such practices. A time when racing is competing with Casinos, Sports wagering, and many other options, and doesn’t need another betting angle which at least on the face of it looks dishonest.

          • Tinky

            Hate to break it to you, Michael, but corruption is endemic in the U.S. (e.g. the political system, Wall Street, etc.), and as I touched on in my primary post, widespread cynicism about racing will continue as long as those tasked with keeping the sport clean fail to do their jobs adequately.

            In other words, there is nothing intrinsically corrupt about exchange wagering. Corruption exists, and the will to stamp it out is the key variable, not the type of betting platform that is being used.

          • Michael Castellano

            True enough, but there is a limited will on the part of racing management to disturb the current arrangements. Adding the ability to make wagers on which horses will lose will have a very negative impact and perception by the general public and puts racing in an weaker position against its competitors and scheming politicians. It also gives the astute and experienced handicappers/gamblers an even bigger advantage over the more casual betters — false favorites can more easily be spotted by them, and being able to bet against them without having to pick the actual winner is a real advantage that further discourages new fans. I just think it will prove quite controversial and is not worth fighting for at this time when racing is already considered to be corrupt by so many.

          • Carl Wilson

            It hasn’t caused this perception in Ireland, the UK or Australia Michael. It has simply added another and new fascinating facet to betting on horse racing. Regardless, I am not going to argue with you. You will see.

          • Michael Castellano

            Whatever new kinds of bets are conceived, racing is widely perceived as not being on the level here in the U.S. Without improving its image and credibility, betting and winning dollars on losers may only complicate the problem.

          • Bourbon Man

            I tend to agree with you. One only has to attend a few race days and bet to see the obvious irregularities, and lose money due to them, in order to stop supporting the sport.

          • J. Nasium

            What tracks do you go to?

          • Carl Wilson

            You are exactly right Tinky.

          • Andres Aponte

            I think that a lot of unprepared horses will be racing and more break downs will occur and trainers and owners will not only make money on getting rid of bad horses but they will also make money on getting them to loose.

        • Carl Wilson

          Betfair creates it’s own security. Every bet is tracked to an account holder that cannot hide. Unlike the track, where when a favorite is about to get buried, unknown faces come with cash money to the windows, and disappear as quickly.

    • betsalot

      You can make a lot of money keeping a favorite out of the tri or super. Ask Ron marsh

    • Randyp

      Pretty hard to police a jockey who decide des to stiff his horse and cash in on it one way or another. Yes they will probably catch him but not after all the papers tell the country how jockeys are fixing races because now they can make even more money by losing. There is not upside to that story. American racing already had integrity problems because of race day medication. This is the last thing we need to add on. Not to mention what the owners and horseman get in return is an absolute joke!

    • Fallow1

      Nicely put, saved me the trouble of making the same points.

  • horsepoor4sure

    I’ve known Fergal Lynch since he was 22 years old. He galloped and race rode my horses and had several dinners with me and my family shortly before his saga in GB began. I can tell anyone willing to listen that Fergal is a very good man and an extremely good jockey. His remorse is sincere and not self serving. I know he wants nothing more than to redeem himself for his family, his career and most of all–his God. Best of luck to you, Fergal, from a NJ friend.

  • Andrew A.

    Much easier to catch people cheating with Exchange wagering.

    • Only in the same way that accidents are said to be Natures way of getting rid of stupid people.

  • GateToWire

    IMO when Lynch got caught up in this he embodied the type of loose ethics and status quo that exists on every backstretch in America. Owners, trainers and Jockeys all know the rules but having been on the backstretch and growing up in racing it always amazes me at how these groups interpret the rules and what they feel is morally acceptable.

    I have personally found that the standard of ethics at the racetrack to be quite a bit below what most people would see as the appropriate standard.
    I’ve even heard a former jockey on a prominent radio show talk openly about incidents that seem to happen routinely and that seem to be acceptable even though they were no where close to legal.
    This is one of the biggest issues the sport faces in enforcing integrity and preventing illegal activity. Maybe if the penalties were more severe the ethics around bad behavior wouldn’t be so out of wack in the backstretch.

  • PTP

    Good work by the BHA and Betfair using modern technology to weed out such things. It’s been happening since 2003 in some form, in all sports. The tennis betting scandal is another example of how such coups are uncovered.

    Although I feel the takeout is too high, the Jersey exchange will be an interesting case study in all things horse racing. I hope it succeeds and bettors are offered new ways to bet – especially modern ways – the game of horse racing. The industry needs all the help it can get in attracting new bettors.

    PTP

    • Carl Wilson

      How high is the takeout?

  • affirmed

    well I am just trying to learn about this exchange wagering? can anyone with that knowledge explain this to me? .. thanks in advance! this is my take, I really would like a betting where I can bet on a Horse to Lose a race, as I could recoup all my money that I have lost, betting on Horses to win! so hurry up and pass the betting rule that I can bet on a Horse to lose, as they lose all the time,more than how they win, and then I would become rich! the British bookmakers do have those bets!

  • greg

    I am salivating waiting for exchange wagering, anyone who plays regularly can usually spot a BAD favorite, say it’s 9/5, I will lay 5/2-3/1 up to whatever my personal limit is and make $$ like I have a printing press. In the case of the story above, as someone who has owned horses for 20+ years I’m not so worried about the jock giving a bad ride, I fear the trainers who know from birth how to make a horse run poorly, much easier than making a slow horse faster

    • You won’t last much longer doing that than you will betting normally: the trick is to oppose horses that you Know won’t win, not those that you calculate won’t win.

      • Matthew Hood

        Exchange wager is not just betting on horses to lose. You can bet them to win at better odds than on track and take advantage of someone offering odds too high.

        • The odds cannot be high enough [for me!] if my loss may be pre-ordained. Last word.

      • greg

        That’s fine for some smaller wins and wagers, however to me the gamble is in my theory, risk, sure, but that’s what gambling is.

        PS: other that several 75-1 shots when do you KNOW!! a horse won’t win? The 50-1 in the last race at GP Friday or the 30-1 in the last there today?? (BTW, both of whom I had win tickets on?

        • Greg, you seem to be missing the point – but in fact for you it might work well. If you like to back extreme longshots you will likely sometimes be able to do it at truly astronomic odds, and they may still win because no-one bothers to pre-orchestrate [Know they won’t win] hopeless cases. Last word.

  • Upset

    The fact is that if riders (and others) follow the current rules of racing, exchange wagering should not be an issue. If they don’t, exchange wagering may make it more likely that they get caught. Not sure how that is a problem in a sport where already the most avid players don’t believe the game is on the level.

    • Carl Wilson

      Ha! Well said Upset!

    • Perhaps you meant to say “the HOPE is that if riders and …”?

  • kevin goer

    In Australia maidens run in barrier trails (practice races with no betting) before they enter in actual maiden races. They are much like harness qualifiers or trial races (ex:Aiken trials). In America many trainers are known not to try first time with their maidens. They just want the horse to gain experience for legitimate future attempts. With exchange wagering this will become the norm. The stable/jockey will be the only ones who know that the horse is not ready to win. Huge insider bets will be placed and the game as we know it will change. Exchange wagering is horrible for the sport and there is no reason to have it.

    • kevin goer

      The Monmouth wagering is available in just about every state. Will everyone have access to see what “lay” bets are place and available or will that be restricted only to people who have accounts in the state and are online.

      • Allan

        You go onto the betfair site right now and see the BF prices of horses running at some tracks in the US

    • Carl Wilson

      Wrong Kevin.

  • If we are looking for the final nail in the coffin of horse racing, then embrace exchange wagering.

    • Matthew Hood

      Ridiculous statement…considering you make so many, it’s not a surprise.

    • Carl Wilson

      Exchange Wagering has been a massive and successful shot in the arm for racing in Ireland, the UK Europe and Australia Barry. But happy to hear why you feel this way.

    • The downsides seem to be so obvious – for every sport – that I am amazed that it’s even a matter for discussion. The position taken by the British Authorities – that it provides a “paper trail” to wrongdoers – is laughable.

      • Matthew Hood

        What about a case were a horse is 1/5 in a 6 horse field. Your concern would be that with exchange wagering, it could create a situation were someone could offer lay bets and the jock stiffs the horse to make a cash.

        That same thing can already happen. By virtue of pari-mutuel odds every other horse will be double digits. Betting every other horse will offer the same returns as offering lay odds on him just to lose.

    • Allan

      Millions and millions are bet on the BF exchange in the UK every year since its inception at the turn of the century. They haven’t stopped running the derby yet at Epsom.

      what is exactly wrong with your average horseplayer getting a better price than the one on the tote?

      it puts more money in the horseplayers pocket. No breakage. no 20% blended takeout.

      for any horseplayer to oppose EW is mere folly,

      Plus no uncashed tickets, for the state its not good but to the horseplayers…..

      Allan

    • With all your wisdom I believe the cyber world was hoping for something a little more concrete from you.There are no more gimmick bets to create. Exchange wagering seems much more plausible than many of the wagering opportunities currently available.

      • kyle

        “There are no more gimmick bets to create.” You underestimate the blind, unrelenting idiocy.

  • carate

    I bet against the favorite all the time, its not hard to do. Its called a tri wheel with the favorite singled in in second and third. I win not as often as I would like and it is an expensive bet. I would not encourage this.

  • Carl Wilson

    Michael. Take a look at the success and handle increases Betfair/exchange wagering have brought to the rest of the world. Why should America be any different? It is only, on balance, a huge positive for racing- anywhere. But, I am not surprised, that you don’t get it.

    • Michael Castellano

      Racing in the U.S. has lost millions of fans, and to a large degree, is viewed as dishonest even by it’s own gambling constituency. It needs to take care of its integrity issues and its drug problems. More betting handle alone cannot save its image, and increasing numbers of politicians are being bought out by other competing interests.

  • McGov

    The Brits know how to handle a scandal properly. Obviously ;)
    I’d like to see Dutrow be so contrite before returning…..people must realize it is A PRIVILEGE to participate in this wonderful sport. Mr Lynch is a gentleman and deserves much credit for taking complete responsibility and helping others make better decisions.
    Can’t imagine how one would handle such a thing better than the way this was handled and perhaps it is a worthwhile template for the disciplinarians in NA. Running out of room under that carpet ;)

  • Allan

    Everyone does realize that the exchange is open on NYRA already. Does 25k-50k in matched bets
    Also i am sure everyone is aware is the Betfair SP, which is blind bet and almost always yields more than the tote. For instance, did anyone bet to win on imaslowpokerodrigeuz in the race 7 on sunday.
    Paid 4.50 as chalkie on the tote. Betfair SP paid 6.00.

    Allan

    • Tinky

      Not (legally) open to U.S.-based players.

  • Hamish

    Powerful piece. Should be playing on TV monitors in all jock rooms. The dark side miscreants do pray upon weakness, like scavengers looking for their next free meal. Best wishes to Fergal Lynch in his newly resurected riding career in America.

    • Northern Dancer

      Inside information has been going on for years. It’s almost impossible to stop it unless the horse racing industry continues to deny very cheap, and advanced audio/visual closed circuit cameras in key areas on racetracks.
      Geez, what a thought right? A little too modern for the horse racing industry or is it just deliberate so that the status quo can continue to operate?

  • c.e.butler

    Exchange wagering in my opinion will make a crooked sport rife w/ doping horses etc. to win races even worse as horses may now be drugged to loose. Bribing jockeys will spike, even the good wins like Jamie Spencer. When the almighty dollar is on the line you can “bet” the crooks will come out of the woodwork to cash in. It’s a very, very bad idea.

  • betsalot

    People are overlooking a major advantage. If you like a horse you may be able to find odds that are better than what is being offered

    • That’s the point: “if it looks too good to be true ……”

      • betsalot

        I’m 1000 percent positive there will be larceny just as there is today I don’t think it would be any more prevalent as there are several ways to steal from the public now. As I stated earlier you could keep a favorite out of the tri or super and it doesn’t matter who wins as you could cover the possibilities. I don’t pretend to know all the ways to cheat but I don’t lose sleep over it. I gamble as a form of entertainment and gave up getting rich from gambling when I was a youth

        • Well as long as you are resigned to the possibility that you could be the victim of pre-orchestration, that’s absolutely fine. In fact it may even be a truly noble outlook: “if I can help somebody as I pass along …”.

          • Bourbon Man

            Except that he only helps the cheats.

          • betsalot

            I don’t really think that you can deny larceny exists in horse racing today and by continuing to bet also accept it. The one way to protest it is to quit supporting it. I am not very smart. I was born ignorant and have been losing ground ever since

          • Welcome to the club! That may be our secret advantage over “the rest of’em” – we know that we’re clowns.

  • Tinky

    “In the US, there is currently very little corruption (in the form of NOT wanting to win)”

    And you base the above assertion on what, exactly?

    As I have pointed out repeatedly, sophisticated cheaters would, for obvious reasons, prefer to leverage their profits with exotic wagers (only possible in a pari-mutuel context), and would much prefer to bet with and collect untraceable cash (ditto).

    It is true that some new cheaters will be attracted to the apparent simplicity of laying horses, but given serious oversight and punishments for those caught cheating, nothing like the claims of rampant cheating would ever materialize.

    Comparing racing in the UK to the U.S. is not always helpful, either, as the weight spreads and handicaps open doors for excuses that wouldn’t be tenable in the U.S.

    Finally, as I’ve also mentioned repeatedly, the key is to greatly discourage corruption, as each wagering platform confers certain advantages and disadvantages to prospective cheaters.

  • betsalot

    I would like to say one more thing and then I’ll shut up. I personally would never bet on a horse to lose but there are people that would I would use this service to add value and get fixed odds on a horse I thought would win. I think the industry would be be better off supporting an idea like this instead of a ridiculous bet like the jackpot pick 6 that has an effective takeout rate of nearly 50%. Not to mention one that takes so much money out of circulation

  • Tinky

    You make assertions as if they were facts. There is no hard evidence to support your suggestion that most, if not all of those who were caught cheating in the U.K. were doing so because of Betfair, nor that they weren’t cheating prior to the existence of exchange wagering.

    You also conveniently fail to make the connection between the uptick in cheaters being caught and the intrinsically superior security of exchange wagering platforms.

    With regard to leverage, I never suggested that winning was automatic, nor is it when horses are held and bet against on exchanges. But if you are really a professional gambler, I shouldn’t have to explain to you how losing at times would be far outweighed by the big scores resulting from boxing and wheeling without favorites.

    As far at the necessity to “redact” anything, you’re wrong. I didn’t suggest that cheaters never cashed bets of over 300/1 odds. I’m certain that they do. The risk of using their own identities and tax consequences would be a part of the calculus. But as you well know, with a favorite out of the first two or three, there are tremendous opportunities for good gamblers to make huge scores at odds well below the 300/1 threshold.

    Finally, I don’t disagree that there is more cheating to win in the U.S., as that is where the really big money is. And, frankly, I don’t consider the word of one gambler, no matter how sophisticated, to be a necessarily accurate gauge of the amount of cheating that exists in American racing.

    • I am on board with you that exchange wagering could be great if implemented properly! However, the humor in your first line can not be ignored from the fellow that loves to make assertions as if they are facts

      • Tinky

        It’s easy to say that, Karl, but if you don’t actually challenge my assertions, which are almost invariably fact-based, then you’re just producing hot air.

        I have been specific in supporting the reasons for my claims and observations on this very thread, and I don’t see any compelling counter-arguments being made.

        • Actually I produce my fair share of cheap wins as well. Granted that pales in comparison to your almighty posts.

          • Tinky

            At least you’ve got a sense of humor, which is more than I can say of some of my critics!

    • MACK

      “There is no hard evidence to support your suggestion that most, if not all of those who were caught cheating in the U.K. were doing so because of Betfair”

      No hard evidence? I’m not “suggesting”, I’m reporting facts. There were trials, convictions, then later admissions of guilt (in order to receive leniency). Jockeys specifically admitted to stiffing horses horses for the sole purpose of making money by laying them on betting exchanges. Do you need some more “hard evidence”?

      You remind me of several Mark Twain quotes, therefore I’ll end my involvement on this discussion. See you on the exchanges, canadian….I mean tinky.

      • Tinky

        Should you ever decide to change careers, I’d recommend against considering becoming a lawyer.

        The fact that x number of riders have been convicted doesn’t in any way prove that they had not been cheating prior to the advent of exchanges. Horses have been held in the U.K. since the sport was established there. Anyone who knows anything about Kieren Fallon would laughing out loud at the notion that he suddenly saw opportunities due only to exchanges, etc.

        I don’t know your “canadian” reference, but it appears that you think that you know my identity. If so, I hope for your sake that your race handicapping is better than that misguided effort.

        • MACK

          “The fact that x number of riders have been convicted doesn’t in any way prove that they had not been cheating prior to the advent of exchanges.”

          Most of those convicted jockeys weren’t licensed before 2000. They could not have been stiffing horses “prior to the advent of exchanges” as they weren’t riding.

          • Tinky

            So therefore they wouldn’t have been inclined or able to cheat in a non-exchange environment?

            Look, I don’t dispute your point that laying horses makes cheating more tempting, at least superficially. But the fact that there have been a number of scandals in recent years in the U.K. can just as easily be explained by the intrinsic advantage of the exchanges’ security. In other words, there may well have been as much or even more cheating prior to Betfair coming on the scene, yet only a tiny percentage were caught, as there was almost no chance for authorities to trace the money.

        • Tink, I’m not sure that bringing Keiran into it helps much. His most high profile case was nothing to do with this type of betting, but simply involved whether or not [and I think that the High Court decided not] he had stopped a horse for the future betting benefit of that horses connections. The Lingfield case was [IMO] nonsense from the laying point of view – although it might very well have been a case of race fixing [in the true, dictionary, sense of that very over used term] that went awry. I very much doubt that any “informed insider” bet against either horse. In the first case a later race [the Cesarewitch] was the object of the exercise and in the second I really do think that the script actually called for the horse to win and that the defeat may have been caused by his trying not to make that too obvious.

          • Tinky

            I’m not sure that you are correct, Bill.

            From the BBC website (08/10/2007) article entitled “Jockey Fallon in ‘race-fix scam'”:

            The prosecution say that shortly after phone calls from the jockeys, Mr Rodgers would place large bets “or lay bets to achieve a small return by comparison”.

            Bets were usually more than £100,000 to win about £20,000, but some were £60,000 to win about £4,000, Mr Caplan said.

            These bets usually amounted to just over 50% of the Betfair market in a particular race, he said.

            And in total, £2.2m was laid by Mr Rodgers’ Betfair accounts between December 2002 and the end of August 2004, he added.

            This period covered 27 races, of which Mr Fallon rode in 17.

            Mr Caplan said Mr Fallon “won for the conspirators 12 times by losing, but he lost for them five times by winning”.

          • Tink, the judge threw it out.

          • Tinky

            Oh, I know that Bill, but it was a high-profile case related to Betfair, and do you actually believe that Fallon was innocent?

          • I suppose that’s the point – “related to Betfair”. Given that Miles Rogers wasn’t a bookmaker the opportunity to profit from beaten horses wasn’t [easily] available to him before. We have to face facts – betting exchanges are a cancer in all sports. As I remarked elsewhere the fact that internet kiddy porn can sometimes be traceable seems a poor reason to allow it to thrive. The whole BHA approach to “integrity” is pathetic – riders constantly interviewed by half-witted tv presenters but committing an offence if they have similar conversations with a friend. Give me a break.

          • Tinky

            I’ll have to disabuse you of some of those misconceptions over a pint, when the flat season begins to unfold.

            But for now, your criticism of the BHA supports, rather than undercuts my central point. Enforce the rules competently, and the type of betting platform is rendered moot.

          • In what sense “enforce the rules competently”? No-one can watch a race and say for certain that a horse was stopped. The only hope that everyone does their best all the time is through a system in which failure to achieve does not pay [future] dividends. No-one in Britain dares to contemplate anything like that, so we continue to accept that a very high % of runners are just “having a run round”. As long as that remains the situation no-one can be surprised if riders and their associates use exchange betting to do a little free-lancing.

  • J. Nasium

    It’s a lot more complicated to fix a horse to win than to lose. You’ve got to have a few others in on a win fix, i.e. other jocks to pull or do everything NOT to win. To bet a horse to lose all you need is one. Bad idea.

  • Allan

    In today’s Irish times paddy power betfair’s CEO states that the jersey exchange start up costs are low, but a huge marketing spend is needed becuase of people not understanding the exchange.

    After reading all the misinformation in the comment section, ppbf better double that budget

    Allan

  • carate

    The only misinformation is yours. It is very clear what this is.

  • Allan

    Yes its clear, exchange wagering is fixed odds betting were the average horseplayer who bets to win or lose have a decent chance to win money

  • Will Styles

    As a former jockeys agent at some of the top tracks, information is critical to booking winning mounts. Most of the really sharp agents have a good idea of when horses are sore and know wich horses are live entering the starting gate. The grooms were always my best indicator as to how well a horse was doing coming into a race. If a true gambler wanted the information a bucket of Chicken and a 6 pack of beer is all it takes, to have the groom point out which horses in the shed row are sore or are feeling great.

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