Bookies ring the changes


Bookmakers in Britain are expecting plenty of confusion when the on-course betting revolution begins in part today. The first stage in the introduction of the new-look betting ring requires the rails bookmakers to implement the changes. Then two weeks' later it will be the turn of the other on-course layers to introduce the new methods.

The modernised betting ring will include the taping of bets, a show of prices about every horse at least 10 minutes before the off and clear displays of a bookmaker's trading terms.

Rails bookmaker Pat Whelan said at York yesterday: "We've got to have our tape recorder ready for tomorrow and a notice about how much money we will lay a horse to.

"I'm not really sure how all this is going to work. What happens if one punter has a bet on a horse that is near the limit and there's another one behind him wanting a bet on the same horse.

"Under the new rules we would refuse the bet but would we have to show the punter our book to explain why?"

Richard Marriott, the chairman of the National Joint Pitch Council, welcomed the new approach and said that he hoped the relevant bodies could work together to "achieve the big objective of revitalising the on-course betting market and so strengthening the starting price system".