10 KEY ISSUES FACING PUNTERS IN 2016

By Matt Welsh Punters.com.au

I have highlighted ten key issues that I feel must be addressed in order to reshape the Australian horse racing landscape into a space where punters may bet with confidence.


1. Minimum bet laws

Like most I see the absence of minimum bets laws in most jurisdictions as entirely unacceptable. On-course bookies are forced to take minimum bets and this should extend to those off-course.


2. Notification of tactical changes

Some have claimed that trainers need to notify stewards of tactical changes by 10am, but I'd take this a step further and suggest that this information should be disseminated at scratching time. Speed maps are a key punting tool and these changes can throw the map out the window.


3. Account closures/restrictions

No punter should face being banned by any outlet. Corporate bookmakers have absolutely no sense of social responsibility - they ban those who can afford to bet and leech off problem gamblers. They purport to support those who face gambling issues but in reality they merely enable them.


4. Unseen first-starters

Jump outs held across the country each and every morning need to be made available to punters. All debutantes need to have partaken in an official trial or jump out where vision is freely available.



5. Sectional data

Sectional breakdowns have been made available on a Saturday - which is great - but punters are investing their hard-earned on a daily basis. It would be relatively simple to pay someone such as Vince Accardi a licensing fee and make these times available for every race.


6. Tracks

The attempt to doctor the perfect track is not working. Horses pull up sore on hard ground and soft ground. We can't produce roads, but the watering has to stop in the lead up to raceday to ensure an even surface. The lanes produced on Cox Plate Day and the Melbourne Cup Carnival were an embarrassment but the problem extends beyond that and remains a regular occurrence throughout the year.


7. Whip laws

The current whip fiasco is creating an uneven playing field for punters. It seems having some sort of restriction on whip use is inevitable but where they need to tighten the screws is in the punishment - a $300 fine is not a deterrent, it's a joke. Jockeys are being forced to ‘cheat' because the stewards are taking a half-arsed approach to enforcing their own rule.


8. Weighing in light

The recent Tigidig Tigidig saga highlighted the need to change the rule for horses weighing in light. He carried 0.6kg less than his prescribed weight and even if he carried 0.6kg more he still would have won the race yet punters who correctly backed him to be the winner never stood a chance.



9. Protests

These hearings have become far too convoluted. The interference either cost a horse the race or it didn't and any such decision needs to be clear-cut. Stewards should take a brief statement from the jockeys and that's it.


10. A national body to run racing

The recent scheduling debacle as Racing Victoria trialed 30 minute gaps has highlighted the need for a single body to run racing in this country. The state versus state mentality that has played out so publicly in recent seasons only serves to damage the sport. A national body would have dictated that 30 minute gaps be trialed nationally, so ensuring a smooth clash-free schedule that permitted punters a chance to get on in every state.


Punters need a seat at the table. Just like breeders, owners, trainers and jockeys, punters are crucial to the health and success of the industry, yet are the one participant left out in the cold when key decisions are made.

The time to listen is now and if administrators continue to ignore punters today, it will shape how this industry looks in 10 to 20 years. And the current outlook is bleak...

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