The second Asian Racing Federation webinar of the series was hosted on the 19th of October by the ARF’s secretary-general as well as the Jockey Club of Hong Kong’s Executive Director, Andrew Harding. The purpose of the webinar series is to examine the practical and effective approaches that selected ARF members have adopted within their jurisdictions, to combat the illegal wagering that takes place as well as to enhance the industry outcomes during the trying circumstances that 2020 has presented.
The webinar allowed ARF members to hold a panel discussion that was facilitated by the BBC’s Chief Presenter, David Eades, and was comprised of other key ARF members from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and representatives from key groups such as the Council of Anti-Illegal betting and related Financial Crime.
The issues that were up for discussion ranged from the decrease in horse racing handle across countries to the illegal wagering in each jurisdiction and how to combat it. Mr. Harding opened the webinar by stating that the ARF encompasses a diverse range of racing models that vary from one country to the next.
He also highlighted that the circumstances in each country have been different throughout this year and have, therefore, yielded different results. The webinars are hosted in an attempt to educate industry representatives to ensure that the global industry thrives and gets back on its feet.
Certain countries, such as South Africa and Singapore, were greatly affected by shutdowns that took place during 2020. In New Zealand, the temporary suspension of horse racing events has been followed by an increase in customers, wagers, and turnover. The approach that New Zealand took was similar to that of Tabcorp, which operates in Australia, and took on a strategic approach to the challenges presented.
The first step was to understand and prepare the staff adequately for the changes that would take place, and make sure that employees could function efficiently under the new conditions. The second step was to shift the focus onto the customer’s short-term and long-term needs. The staff was trained to assist where they could but the corporation had to correctly predict how quickly the digital migration would take.
The third step involved educating bettors about the social benefits of placing their wagers legally. This includes tax revenue that gets used to improve the country, creates jobs for thousands, and ensures that more jobs will be created as the industry grows.