It has been announced that the Australian arm of the global sportsbook Betfair is to stop offering lay-betting and wagering on Japanese horse racing following a series of complaints against the bookmaker and criticism from the betting authority.
The move to pull Japanese horse racing from its betting product comes after the Japan Racing Association stated that it was ready to take action against Australia if it did not stop offering bets.
Betfair currently allows bettors to gamble by betting or laying on horses, meaning that punters can predict which horse is going to lose the race, rather than win the race.
Another similar complaint occurred last year in Hong Kong when authorities stated that offering such bets may compromise the integrity of the sports.
Betfair released a public statement on the issue:
“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. 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.”
The Japan Racing Association stated that it would stop horses competing in Australia and would be forced to pull its live feeds broadcast from Japan to Australia should the sportsbook continue.
Betfair was quick to dispute the criticism by saying that the exchange product is similar to bettors wagering on the outcome that all other horses will win in regular betting products.
In addition, the bookmaker stated that the move may lead to bettors using illegal betting systems to bet instead.
Horse racing is one of the most popular forms of sports betting in Japan that attracts large numbers of bets from both locals and overseas bettors. The sport has grown in popularity during lockdown as it has been one of the only few events still running in the world amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
What is lay betting?
Lay betting on sports such as horse racing and greyhounds is a betting option that is available on exchanges, whereby punters sell a bet rather than buy a bet. So instead of backing a horse to win the race, bettors place a bet on the horse losing.