Betfair pulls Japan racing after JRA pressure

Betfair Australia said it was pulling the ability to allow bets on Japanese horse racing after pressure from the country’s racing body.

The decision followed a similar move to withdraw from Hong Kong racing in September last year due to opposition from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which argued that Betfair’s offering created integrity issues, as punters were allowed to bet on a horse to lose.

“We launched Japanese racing on the exchange in March 2020 in order to continue meeting the needs and interests of our customers and punters during what was a time of unprecedented uncertainty for racing, and we know many punters love the product,” it said. “Unfortunately, the HKJC and JRA still have a view that a betting exchange poses risk to the integrity of a race given “a customer can back a horse to lose.”

Betfair said the Japan Racing Association (JRA) had threatened to stop horses competing in Australia and to pull its feeds that allowed Australians to watch racing in Japan. 

Given the disruption this would pose to Australian punters and Australian racing bodies alike, as fans of racing, we have ceased offering markets on the exchange, it said. 

The company disputes the JRA and HKJC’s contention that allowing bets on a losing horse presents integrity issues, as the same outcome can be achieved by backing the other runners. It also said the decision may lead to punters seeking out illegal betting platforms to place their wagers.