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Each-way terms are dictated by margins; LETTERS.

WITH reference to Alan Taylor's letter in relation to each-way terms at Royal Ascot (June 25), I feel obliged to offer some explanatory facts.

While I was not betting at the meeting - I was at Thirsk, Hamilton and Ripon - I was sorry to read that he felt punters had been blatantly short-changed by bookmakers.

Until the recent appointment of the Gambling Commission, bookmakers betting each-way were governed - as Mr Taylor suggests they should be - by recognised standard industry terms.

As in any industry, any uneconomical areas have to be scrutinised, and accordingly many on-course bookmakers were prevented from betting each-way as this would have proved commercial suicide on many races, owing to the margins not being viable.

Accordingly, many racecourses received numerous complaints from racegoers about each-way betting not being available.

As a result, the Gambling Commission ruled that bookmakers were allowed to bet to their own each-way terms, in order that each-way betting would then be on offer on all races.

I assure Mr Taylor that at all times I endeavour to offer what were recognised as the standard each-way terms. However, on certain occasions I have to amend the terms should there be no margin on the place element of the market.

This occurs most frequently on 16-runner plus handicaps, and I am forced to adjust the place terms to onefifth 1-2-3-4, as opposed to the traditional one-quarter 1-2-3-4, as a means of building in a margin. I can assure Mr Taylor that I would never take advantage of my right to amend the terms and abuse the situation - these amendments are clearly implemented as a means of offering each-way betting to all my clients.

May I add, that I feel it is morally wrong for any bookmaker to abuse the situation and adjust the each-way terms more than is necessary, as this creates the wrong perception - hence Mr Taylor's Dick Turpin reference.

Regarding Mr Taylor's observation that all high street betting offices were offering one-quarter odds a place on all races, I can only assume this offer was a loss-leader, designed to attract punters into their shops to play on all the virtual racing games, roulette machines and lucky 49's, etc.

As I am currently not allowed to have all these machines and games at the back of my joint and must rely solely on my prices, not only to be competitive but also to produce a margin, I am unable to offer any loss-leader attractions.

However, I can assure Mr Taylor that on-course bookmakers bet to competitive margins and at all times endeavour to offer a service of the highest standard.

I invite him to introduce himself to me one day on course and I will fully explain and show him the computerised margins that necessitate each-way terms having to be adjusted.

I trust this letter will throw some light on the economics of the relevant issues and help to address Mr Taylor's concerns and perception.

Bryan Hazell Managing director Bryan D Hazell (Racing)
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jul 17, 2009
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