i-pools first out of the starting-gate as pool betting on British horseracing opens up

As reported today by SBC News, on the first day that horse-race pool betting has been open to the market, our clients i-pools have launched the UK’s first real-money Daily Fantasy Racing games. The SBC News report can be downloaded below.

This launch follows the expiry yesterday (12 July 2018) of the exclusive licence previously held by the Tote (Successor Company) Limited for horse-race pool betting at approved racecourses. The consequence of this is that, as we have previously reported, all operators are now able to provide pool betting on British horseracing subject to holding a pool betting operating licence. Such operators will find it helpful to read what is stated on the Commission’s Pool betting licensing arrangements webpage (that can also be downloaded below).

We have also previously reported on a consultation commenced in April 2018 by the Gambling Commission on its proposal to maintain transparency to customers when the exclusive horse-race pool betting licence expired. It proposed extending the existing LCCP requirement that applies to pool betting on dog races so that it also applies to horse-race pool betting. In proposing that change, it considered that the transparency requirements should apply to all pool betting – for example dogs, horse-race, and football pool betting.

Of the responses received by the Commission from individuals, trade associations and business:

  • The majority were in favour of the proposal for the purposes of transparency to consumers, and consistency between different forms of pool betting.
  • Two respondents supported the proposals but raised a number of queries about how to interpret the transparency requirements for horse-race pool betting, which they considered to be much more complex than pool betting on dog races and potentially requiring a degree of flexibility to accommodate those complexities.
  • One respondent considered that the proposals should be extended to cover additional areas such as the source of liquidity in pools.

With effect from today, 13 July 2018, the Commission has implemented the extension of existing requirements from pool betting on dog races to other forms of pool betting, including horse-race pool betting.

It states on its website that “the detailed questions which were raised by respondents will be addressed in guidance to be made available on our website very shortly. This will set out further guidance on how to interpret the requirements relating to ‘potential dividend returns’ and ‘unit stakes’. This guidance reflects the  principle that consumers understand the bets being offered to them – what they could win in the case of win and place bets or what is available to be won for combination bets”.

It continues by saying: “in due course, we will also issue guidance to businesses on further issues which we consider necessary to maintain basic transparency to consumers. This will cover liquidity and seeding of pools. Operators may choose various strategies to enhance prize pools, examples being but not limited to, offering minimum guaranteed returns or by purchasing entries within the pools (be that directly or indirectly). In circumstances where operators are applying strategies to their own pools, they should make all customers aware.  As a minimum, this information should be included in readily accessible terms and conditions. Operators must ensure that all customers are treated equally through the application of a single pool closing time and the provision of consistent information about pool sizes and selections made”.