Name dropping a good call by Arena
Mike Deasy on Arena Racing’s decision to drop online gaming from race names, in sharp contrast to the Jockey Club’s online deal
A week after the Jockey Club made its much-criticised announcement that it was licensing the use of its famous race-names and racecourses to online gaming operator Playtech, rival racecourse group Arena said that it will no longer allow online gaming products to be used in its race titles.
How many races run at the 16 Arena tracks include references to poker, bingo, roulette and the like isn’t clear but, if it means gaming online operators pull some race sponsorships, Arc are to be congratulated for being prepared to take a hit.
And the Arena decision is further embarrassment for the Jockey Club, as criticism grows of their deal with Playtech because it undermines racing’s argument that online gaming and betting on horses are separate entities. One is described as a game of chance, the other requires skill.
The reason for seeking the differentiation is to avoid one-size-fits-all regulation of gaming and gambling which could have serious implications for racing.
The Gaming Act is currently under review in order to seek regulation that’s fit for today’s gaming and betting environment and there is a very real threat that betting on the horses will be subject to the same draconian rules as could be enforced for online gaming. See http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-8bV
Which brings me to repeat my request that readers use the RacingTV led campaign to write to their MPs using a ready-prepared template letter.
Use the link and all you need do is enter your postcode and the email letter, ready-addressed to your MP, appears. Then simply add your email address and name and off your letter goes. Here’s the link.
A disappointing aspect of galvanising support for racing’s campaign to have betting and gaming treated differently is the lack of coverage from racing correspondents. That’s especially the case where some newspapers have an anti-gambling agenda.
Good to see the Tote has produced a fixtures booklet which they’ve made widely available at racecourses. It’s a disappointment though that racing itself hasn’t promoted the sport this way.
And further praise for Arena Racing (twice in one column – a first) who are now providing racecards free of charge. Others please follow.
Off the pace
Ahead of last Saturday’s racing at five tracks, the Racecourse Association said on social media that they wanted “everyone to have a safe & enjoyable day at the races.”
They went on to request that if racegoers are having a drink, they should pace their alcoholic intake and avail themselves of the free water at each of the tracks.
It’s a shame they have to make the request to combat anti-social behaviour.
However, proper policing of racecourse bars would be a better preventative measure. Those who make it unpleasant for others are not the sort to pace themselves.
I see the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff are shutting bars at half-time during rugby’s Six Nations tournament and are no longer selling strong lager.
It’s unlikely racecourses will follow suit. Indeed, Newbury’s newly refurbished Long Room bar, scheduled to open in the spring, will feature a new gin bar.
Regarding the artist’s impression of Newbury’s refurbished bar (above), why does it depict so few racegoers in attendance? Yes, they want to show the new facilities at their best but in reality it will be queues of people trying to get served.
Which brings these scribblings to a conclusion that since the Berkshire racecourse dropped its in-house catering operation, and went with Compass, service is not what it was.
Family illness forces Hoiles cutback
Sad to hear that a family illness has forced Richard Hoiles has cut back on racecourse commentaries. Best wishes to him and his family from The Racing Hub.