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Racing: ATR dismisses the time delay with SIS as a 'non-issue'.

Byline: By Andrew Scutts

IN-RUNNING exchange punters hoping that a "negligible" time delay between SIS and At The Races one day last week was an indicator that the usual two-second gap could become a thing of the past had their optimism dampened yesterday.

With the normal delay equating to approximately 45 yards of racing on the Flat and the more obvious problems associated with jump racing, there is a notion that punters betting in-running from television are at a disadvantage compared to those at the track.

Bookmaker Barry Dennis has previously highlighted the issue, while the Racing Post's Matt Williams, reflecting on what he called a "negligible delay" between SIS and At The Races with races from Leicester and Lingfield last Tuesday, said in his Trading Post column: "Let's hope it's not a one-off."

However, Matthew Imi, ATR's chief executive, said yesterday: "I don't know why everyone gets worked up about the time delay. It's different each day. There's usually a one-second delay with SIS, two with Racing UK and three with ATR.

"There's no commercial upside for us to alter that. We're more concerned with better picture quality. We're focused on the end-product, not in running betting. In any case, at its most pronounced, the difference between betting-shop pictures and ATR is two seconds, so this is a non-issue. We don't have thousands of customers ringing up every day to complain about it."

While also describing the gap as "not a big problem", Josh Apiafi, Betfair's director of field marketing, said: "It would be better for us - and everybody - if the delay wasn't so great. In a perfect world, ATR pictures would be as fast as SIS."

He added: "The difference between now and a couple of years ago is that the ATR delay has been made more public, through mediums like Trading Post. As long as punters know what the time delay equates to on the Flat and over jumps, we don't see it as a problem. And in-running players tend to be more experienced than non in-running punters."

One such, the Post's Williams, said yesterday: "Time-delay problems are a major cause for concern for the majority of exchange punters and I'm sure in-running markets could be helped by levelling the playing field.

"Why would anybody want their pockets picked by punters privileged to a faster feed? Some exchange bettors carry on punting regardless, whereas other, greener, in-running punters are oblivious to the speed differences.

"It's ATR's prerogative to go for picture quality ahead of speed, but I'd like to see some acknowledgement, via a daily reminder, that their pictures are delayed by however many seconds.

"ATR has done nothing wrong in all this, and they just want to deliver the best possible coverage. However, the role of the punter is all-important to the success of both ATR and RUK, and their views should be respected."

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Matthew Imi: "Concerned with picture quality"
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 6, 2006
Words:486
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