36th Asian Racing Conference concludes as ARF Chairman proposes task-force to unify regional anti-illegal betting strategy
The 36th Asian Racing Conference concluded in Mumbai on Thursday with a sensational celebration of Bollywood at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse. Delegates from all ARF member nations and around the racing industry called time on the four days of bureau meetings, business and specialist sessions, and networking.
“As the 36th ARC draws to a close, I know that I speak for everyone here when I say this – India, you have done a wonderful job,” said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chairman of the Asian Racing Federation and Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. “Having hosted the last ARC in Hong Kong, I have first-hand experience of the breadth and scale of what is required to stage a successful conference. The Organising Committee has dealt with every aspect with great success.”
Mr. Engelbrecht-Bresges specially recognized the Chairman of the Host Committee, Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla, and Surender Reddy, India’s representative on the ARF Executive Council.
“But in terms of our business discussions, one issue stands out for me as requiring an urgent and dedicated response, and this is the problem of illegal betting. This is both an old and a new problem. It is old because it is something we have always faced in some form whether it be SP bookmakers in Australia or backroom gambling dens in other countries. However, what we face now is also fundamentally different.
“Technology has enabled the illegal gambling operators to transform completely, so that we now see online operators taking bets on our races from a global customer base. National borders have become largely irrelevant. These operators now hold a volume of bets on our races which in some cases completely eclipses our own. While the problem we face will not be easily overcome, I am convinced that working together we can achieve a great deal. After all we have 55 years of the ARCs and now the ARF demonstrates how much we have accomplished when we combine our efforts.
“This is a problem that we cannot afford to ignore. It is also a problem which requires at the very least a regional approach. Individual nations acting alone will not be able to stem this tide. It is for this reason that I will be proposing to the Executive Council that we establish a task force with the mission of developing an ARF Anti-Illegal Betting Strategy. This will be a multi-pronged strategy incorporating research and intelligence, media, government submissions, links with law enforcement agencies, and identification of key influencers.
“On this note, I again congratulate India on a wonderful Conference and being a fantastic host. Your warm hospitality has given us a real taste of the rich Indian culture.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the ARF host flag was transferred from India to Mr. Park Yang Tae, Executive Director of Racing for the Korea Racing Authority. Korea will host the 37th Asian Racing Conference in May 2018 after previous terms as hosts in 1980 and 2005.