Updated rules for reverting starting prices using the out-of-the-money market have been revealed | Horse racing news


Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Starting prices have not been set using the on-course market since the Covid-19 outbreak

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

By Bill Barber, Industry Editor

Updated and more transparent rules defining how the starting price is decided and reflecting “contemporary market dynamics” will come into effect from Sunday week.

The Starting Prices Regulatory Commission (SPRC), the body responsible for the integrity and accuracy of the SP, said it had reviewed the methodology for returning starting prices which were decided using the market off course since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new mechanism and rules, available on the SPRC’s website, cover issues such as one-way terms and non-standard pricing sources.

The on-course market was the exclusive source of SP until the races were held behind closed doors in June 2020 due to the pandemicwith a temporary solution using online operators then introduced.

In March 2021, the SPRC ruled that SP would be formulated using off-course businesses even when the racetrack bookmakers returned to the track, citing the on-course market as responsible for just 1.4% of the total race bets.

The changes mean that the SPRC will consider any source of prizes to be valid if freely available to customers in the UK, if prizes are available for one-way conditions derived from the winning prize only – which excludes the Betfair exchange and the Tote – and whether the price source constitutes at least one percent of the UK racing betting market.

New rules for returning starting prizes will be introduced in May

This leaves the door open for racetrack bookmakers to collectively contribute to the sample that forms the SP.

Members of the Betting and Gaming Council have pledged financial assistance to pay for a technical solution to incorporate on-course information, although on-course bookmakers have previously been paid for their data, which may prove to be a barrier to their inclusion.

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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SPRC Chairman Nick Rust said temporary arrangements needed to be made

SPRC Chairman Nick Rust said temporary arrangements needed to be made

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

The SPRC said the current list of bookmaker brands supplying the SP sample is made up of bet365, Betfred, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, Sky Bet, Unibet and William Hill, but added that they would like to expand the sample.

Coral is not included as the SPRC deemed their prices to be too similar to their stable mate Entain Ladbrokes.

Paddy Power and Sky Bet are included although they are both part of Flutter Entertainment as they each set individual prices.

SPRC Chairman Nick Rust said: “I am grateful to my fellow commissioners and members of our technical sub-committee for the work they have done to update the SP mechanism.

“We needed to move from temporary arrangements put in place as a result of the coronavirus to permanent arrangements that reflected both contemporary market dynamics and the board’s previous decision to move to a largely staggered pricing basis.

“SP continues to be robust and plays a very important role in ensuring fair returns for betting customers, whether they bet on SP or have the best odds guaranteed.”

The SPRC also said average overruns per runner, the bookmakers’ theoretical built-in profit margin, were “significantly lower” in 2021 than in the run-up to Covid-19, when SP was determined from the market on the course only. .

Bookmakers on the course argue that this is because foreign prices have risen to compensate for shorter prices among fancy horses.

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