Racing: Ring revolution is a step closer

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THE BETTING Levy Board yesterday released details of how its promised review of the controversial issue of betting-pitch administration will be undertaken next year.

There has been uproar from racecourse bookmakers based in Tattersalls over the details of recommendations from the National Joint Pitch Council which the review committee will consider. They are angry that rails bookmakers may be able to display their prices on boards and that pitches may be allowed in the members' enclosures and in other approved areas.

Many bookmakers have paid large sums for pitches at auction on the understanding that such a development would not happen and fear that their turnover will be hit. They have also warned that the integrity and operation of returning starting prices, which is based largely on trading in Tattersalls, could be compromised.

The NJPC general manager, Clive Reams, has stressed that those are his recommendations and not necessarily what the NJPC will propose.

The review will be carried out by the three Government-appointed members of the Levy Board - the chairman Robert Hughes, deputy chairman Sir John Robb and Keith Elliott.

The committee will obtain views on the NJPC's recommendations from bookmakers' organisations, the BHB, the Tote, the Jockey Club, the Racecourse Association, SIS and SP returners and the NJPC's recommendations will be circulated to interested bodies by 28 January. The deadline for written submissions by interested bodies is 3 March and the review committee will submit its recommendations to the Board by 12 April.

Hughes said: "The review committee will consider carefully all the points of view submitted to it before arriving at conclusions. This process is another important step forward in the modernisation of betting rings at Britain's 59 racecourses."