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Racing Board Changes Rules after Jockey Betting Scandal

Sep 11, 2014 - by Monica Erdei
New Zealand approved new betting rules after jockey David Walker's been charged

New Zealand approved new betting rules after jockey David Walker’s been charged

New Zealand’s horse racing association has imposed new rules preventing jockeys from betting on days when they are riding.

A few weeks ago, New Zealand gambling news were raging over Central Districts jockey David Walker’s involvement in a betting scandal. The 38-year-old rider had placed a wager on a race he was competing in at the Awapuni course, but put his money on a rival horse.

His mount Watch Your Man finished two-and-a-half lengths behind St Ransom, and the Race Integrity Unit (RIU) said the jockey had deliberately tempered with the sports scores by restraining his own horse to ensure he would win the wager.

Following the national betting scandal, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) decided to forbid jockeys from placing wagers on days when they are competing. Under the old regulations, riders were allowed to bet, but only on their own mount.

Stuff.co.nz: Jockey betting scandal forces NZTR rule change

In addition to forbidding jockeys from betting when they’re riding, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing is also trying to stop them from using anything but traceable electronic betting accounts. This way, officials will be able to easily verify that no one breaks the rules.

The changes were prompted by the David Walker betting scandal, which challenged the integrity of New Zealand horse racing. Newspapers revealed that the Central Districts rider admitted to placing wagers on two rival horses before being charged with pulling up his two mounts.

Matthew Goodson, chairman of NZTR, promised that the strengthening of rule 707 would provide greater protection for gamblers who bet on sports in New Zealand, and this is critical for the industry. He added that the organization would consult again in the future, to establish whether more drastic rules are needed and to ensure that New Zealand’s regulations are consistent with other important racing jurisdictions.

“This may result in a ban on jockeys betting on races held under our rules of racing without exception,” he added.

3News: Betting rules tighten for jockeys

Jockeys participating in New Zealand horse races are banned from betting on the days they are riding. The fresh regulations have put an end to a practice which drew a lot of criticism, as jockeys were allowed to place wagers on their own horses, as well as on any race they’re not competing in.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing representatives say the changes were initiated in 2013, but the issue of riders betting on races has been in the spotlight over the past few weeks, after jockey David Walker was charged with two counts of placing wagers on another horse in a race he was competing in. His and a hearing is scheduled to take place on September 18 at Trentham.

“The appearance, as well as the practice of integrity, is critical against a backdrop of rapidly evolving gambling options which are creating issues for many sports,” NZTR chairman Matthew Goodson said in a statement. “The strengthening of this racing rule will provide greater protection for punters, which is critical for our industry, and support our integrity services.”

The new rules came into effect on Thursday, after being approved by all stakeholders, including the New Zealand Jockeys’ Association.

The Informant: New jockey betting rule comes into force

NZTR announced changes to Rule 707 of the Rules of Racing, namely the one referring to jockey betting privileges. In addition to banning riders from placing wagers on races they’re competing in, officials have asked that all bets be placed exclusively through electronic accounts, via the New Zealand TAB.

The changes are meant to help protect the sport’s integrity. They were initiated in 2013 and have received approval from all stakeholders, including the Minister for Racing and the New Zealand Jockeys’ Association, as well as the Racing Integrity Unit, Racing’s Judicial Control Authority and the New Zealand Racing Board.

NZTR chairman Matthew Goodson said: “NZTR is committed to continue reviewing the potential impact of other factors on racing integrity such as growing international linkages and the role of offshore betting organizations and websites.

We hold significant reservations regarding the current information that is available to the Racing Integrity Unit from these offshore organizations and there is a clear need for New Zealand legislation that deals with the current reality of global wagering on many domestic and international competitive events.

NZTR will recommence a consultation process on the need for further changes to the Rules to ensure New Zealand’s Racing Rules are consistent with other major racing jurisdictions. This may result in a ban on jockeys’ betting on races held under our Rules of Racing without exception.”

Dave Taylor, president of the Jockeys’ Association added: “New Zealand racing and jockeys have the very highest levels of integrity and we acknowledge and understand the need for both the practice and perception of the highest standards of integrity.”

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