Jenny - Clean

THE WEDNESDAY WHINGE has a new look but won’t be dispensing with the theme and focus on the THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY side of what is happening in racing. The Whinge will continue to provide an opportunity for The Cynics to Have Their Say. Thanks again for your support for the most read column on this website and one of the most read on racing websites in the country. Our popularity continues to grow despite the bagging it cops from some high profile officials, especially in Queensland, who cannot cope with constructive criticism of any kind. We encourage supporters – and critics – to continue to contribute but plan to restrict the Whinge to less than 10 of the best items each week. Our message to those who continually bag us is simple: IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT YOU READ, THEN DON’T REVISIT THE WHINGE.



EDITOR’S NOTE: THERE will be NO WEDNESDAY WHINGE published NEXT WEEK while we take a break which we try to do at the end of the Spring Carnival in Melbourne. Apologies for any inconvenience that this causes but, God willing, we will be back on deck the following week so keep the contributions flowing, even if you have to wait a week or two to have your say. We value your opinion and no doubt there will be plenty who want to have their say when we return especially in Queensland where the industry is again staggering from one disaster to another as the good ship RQ Titanic tries to dodge the icebergs.



WE received enough feedback on the decision to move the Doomben 10,000 to Eagle Farm to fill two issues of the WEDNESDAY WHINGE but to be honest we have all but given up on racing in Queensland. The only hope now rests with a Racing Queensland Board reversing this unpopular proposal but that would require them to favor ‘history and tradition’ ahead of supposed ‘commercial reality’.

This is the latest in a series of debacles which has us convinced that there is little future for the industry in the Sunshine State. The decision by respected and high profile Townsville Turf Club chairman Kevin O’Keefe and his entire committee to resign yesterday in the wake of a RQ demand for the appointment of an Administrator to address financial concerns is another sad chapter for the industry in Queensland. There are concerns that other clubs, under the financial microscope of RQ, could face a similar fate to Townsville. And those being mentioned in dispatches are said to include the Gold Coast although we doubt the control body would dare hoist that club into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons on the eve of the Magic Millions and risk offending ‘Genial Gerry’ Harvey.

It seems in racing in Queensland the more things change, the more they stay the same. Self interest continues to dictate the decision-making process and those in charge from the Racing Minister down are either so ignorant or ill-advised of what racing needs. Those who continue to offer constructive criticism are, in our opinion, simply wasting their efforts.

The Brisbane Racing Club seems to have a strange order of priorities. At a time when they should be trying to win back public confidence after the debacle of the power blackout on Melbourne Cup Day, not to mention the pathetic treatment coverage of their Saturday racing is receiving on SKY Channel, officials are focused on boosting the Eagle Farm's profile by adding yet another Group 1 to their Winter Carnival, even if it is at the expense of Doomben which was supposedly an equal in the merger of the two big clubs.

Rather than run repetitive contributions on this controversy here are the two that hopefully gets the general message across and sadly for the BRC there was not one out of over 20 emails that we received that supported their decision to ‘rob’ Doomben of its signature event.



FOR obvious reasons I will ask that my identity be withheld fearing my BRC membership will be withdrawn or I will be ostracized on my regular visits to the races which are bound to become less and less in view of what is happening under the current management:

‘AS a veteran Member of the Brisbane Turf Club (and now the BRC) I fear that Doomben has no long-term future and will eventually be sold as valuable real estate or taken over as part of the Eagle Farm infrastructure.

Undertakings were given that this would not occur when the Government and Queensland Racing permitted the merger of the Queensland Turf Club and Brisbane Turf Club but it seems many of us old-timers had good reason to be distrusting.

Surely Eagle Farm could have introduced another high prizemoney race worthy of Group status to accommodate three consecutive Saturdays of Group 1 racing. To move the 10,000 tears the heart out of the Doomben carnival not to mention destroys an icon of the racing calendar in Queensland.

Rather than the merger of equals that was promised, Eagle Farm has manipulated a takeover of Doomben using it like a mongrel dog to fill the gap during the redevelopment period and now driving a dagger through the heart of its feature racing program.

Nowhere else in the country would this be allowed to happen. Randwick would never dare to take the Golden Slipper from Rosehill and make it part of The Championships nor would the Cox Plate ever be moved from Moonee Valley to Flemington. Officials in those state respect tradition. In Brisbane racing it’s all about self-interest, greed and survival.

I doubt those now running the show at Racing Queensland have a clue about what this means – otherwise they wouldn’t have allowed it to happen without some consultation. I won’t even mention the Racing Minister. I doubt she knows the difference between Eagle Farm and Doomben.

It’s fine for Neville Bell to say he can understand the sentiment of the critics. Funny thing is he made that statement in the story announcing the shock change before anyone even knew about it so was obviously aware it would be far from popular.

As for his comment ‘the logic to move the race seems to be pretty good’ – well who’s logic is that – some backroom dumbo at RQ who has been involved in racing for five minutes and is being influenced by his ‘newfound friends’ over a glass of bubbly and back slapping in the inner-sanctum at the Farm?

I was relieved to read where new RQ CEO Dr Elliot Forbes has given an assurance that no decision on moving the 10,000 has been made. But answerable to a Board that might not understand racing traditions ahead of commercial decisions those opposed to the move have reason to fear the worst.’




‘THE Brisbane Racing Club is quickly becoming the masters of public relations disasters.

At a time when the last thing that they need is more bad publicity, one has to question the timing of the shock announcement concerning the switch of the 10,000 from Doomben to Eagle Farm.

Surely some media consultant dickhead didn’t suggest it would deflect attention and criticism away from their power blackout debacle on Melbourne Cup Day which still has thousands of patrons demanding their money back not to mention never returning to Eagle Farm again.

It won’t stop the stories about heavies at Energex fuming over criticism and looking at retaliatory action against the BRC after a prominent club identity used a media post to blame them for the problems that wrecked the Melbourne Cup day plans of many.

There are again calls for the BRC committee to rein in this person who writes under a non-de-plume when there is a major conflict of interest in what he writes because of the position he holds but the club seems hellbent on allowing him to continue with his provocative commentary.

The strange thing is the BRC – or many of their influential backers and supporters from the old QTC era – never could and still can’t cop any form of constructive criticism. Yet they continue to make decisions that are bound to upset so many racing folk.

There’s something wrong with the way the BRC is being run if they cannot organize a more successful Winter Carnival without pinching the signature event not only from a major rival but one they had promised would be afforded equality under the merger of the two big clubs.'



HARRY DAVIDSON of MELBOURNE makes some interesting points on the ‘training credentials of wealthy owner LLOYD WILLIAMS:

THE ‘training’ favors that wealthy owner Lloyd Williams is allowed to enjoy by the authorities in Victoria continues to make a mockery of the Rules of Racing in Australia.

This was again highlighted by the win of Almandin in last week’s Melbourne Cup when one could argue that the ‘trainer’ of the horse was virtually the ‘invisible man’.

It’s an interesting question for any racing trivia quiz: Who trained the winner of the 2016 Melbourne Cup? Should the correct answer be Robert Hickmott or Lloyd Williams?

For ‘official’ purposes, Hickmott, the one-time Australian Rules footballer and long-time servant of Team Williams, is listed as the trainer of Almandin. If any one dares to pose the question to Lloyd they will be told that ‘Robert plays a significant role in the conditioning and preparation of our horses’.

The cynics would argue that Williams determines the training regime and programming of all stable runners and that Hickmott is little more than a glorified strapper or stablehand. One thing’s for sure if at some stage there was a positive swab you can bet your bottom dollar that Hickmott would be thrust into the training hot-seat.

As Michael Lynch so correctly wrote for The Age recently:

Generically referred to as a ‘leviathan owner’, ‘high-rolling businessman’, ‘property developer’ or ‘gambling impresario’ (the latter because of his creation of the Crown Casino complex in Melbourne's Southbank), Williams is all of those things.

The 76-year-old scion of the Williams outfit is keenly involved in the planning and programming of the horses, what races they will target and when and where they will run. 

Meticulous in his attention to detail, Williams buys the horses, funds the operation and, like most men who are successful in their business life, likes to be in control of his own destiny.

 In post-race interviews it is not Hickmott who does the talking. These days, with Lloyd preferring to stay at home in Macedon to watch his horses run on television, it is his son Nick who is the public face of the stable, not the trainer.

Most years the winning trainer fronts for the Melbourne Cup press conference involving the winning connections.

This year there was no sign of Hickmott, who remained, as ever, in the background.

Determined not to upset Williams, as most racing media identities who want to survive have learnt to be in Victoria over the years, Lynch added the rider: ‘That is not to downgrade the role and presence of Hickmott.’

Few would realize that this was the second success in the race that stops the nation for Hickmott who was appointed Head Trainer at Macedon Lodge in 2009. Not long before Zipping won the G1 Australian Cup, Hickmott was appointed head trainer for Team Williams. He was credited with his first Group 1 success when Zipping won the 2010 Australian Cup and was the ‘official’ trainer of Green Moon when it took out the 2012 Melbourne Cup.

Williams placatory comments about the ‘trainer of the Cup winner’ were finger down the throat stuff. "He's been with me 15 years and you have got to admire his dedication and persistence. He has to put up with a lot as I can be a very difficult boss," said Williams.

“He's come in as a foreman and an assistant. He's done a wonderful job. His father is a trainer. His brother is a trainer. He is a first-class fellow.”

Williams even joked that he keeps telling Hickmott that he is the same age as Irish maestro Aidan O'Brien, and that as the latter has some 282 Group 1 winners already to his name, Hickmott needs to lift his strike rate.

He went on to talk about ‘the army behind’ those running the business that makes it successful. “We discuss things. What we might want to do. He looks after the horses at home. It's a two-way street. I drive everyone mad with attention to detail. He has learned to take care of the smaller things. The big things take care of themselves.”

Every time Team Williams wins a big race it becomes increasingly obvious that Lloyd is ‘very hands-on’ in the operation. Most believe that son Nick, when interviewed after a win, doesn’t even attempt to hide the fact that his father is really the ‘trainer’. It is simply not good enough.

Regardless of the power that Lloyd Williams wields in Victoria, he should be officially registered and listed as the ‘trainer’ or ‘co trainer’ for his stable. Surely that could be argued by stewards. Then again it would be an uphill battle taking on the big man who has said many times he has no intention of putting himself in that position. One assumes that he means where he could be dealt with under the Rules of Racing like any other licensee.

One can’t blame Terry Bailey for not taking a ‘big stick’ to Williams on the issue when no other top steward or official has cared or dared to do it before him. Bailey has been around long enough to remember the days when Russ Hinze was a major owner in Queensland at the same time as he was the Racing and Police Minister. The young policeman who pulled him up was shown a map and asked: “Where would you like to spend the rest of your career?’

What got up the nose of many after Williams won his fifth Melbourne Cup was when he started – one suspects tongue in cheek – making comparisons to his record and that of Cups king Bart Cummings questioning whether he could emulate that feat. It wasn't an owner talking about a trainer. It was a ‘trainer’ comparing himself to a training great.

As has been said so often horse racing is equally the weakness of those with too much money and those with none. But when there’s a perception that ‘those with too much’ are getting more start than ‘those with none’ then this great sport ceases to be ‘the level playing’ field that supposedly makes it so great.’



GREG HONCHIN, of SCARBOROUGH, a one-time leading administrator for the QUEENSLAND TURF CLUB & the QUEENSLAND PRINCIPAL CLUB, makes some interesting points regarding the Cup Day blackout at Eagle Farm:

‘I, like many others, have seen the television footage and read many media reports regarding the loss of power at Eagle Farm Racecourse on Melbourne Cup Day.

While blame has been attributed backwards and forwards, I am at a loss to ascertain as to how the Race Club allowed itself to be placed in this position in the first place.

Even though I have been out of the industry for quite a while I find it very strange that precautions were not taken just in case any situation such as this arose.

Back in my day there was always a huge transportable generator plugged into the system which would immediately kick in if the power went down. It was positioned at the back of the electricians’ shed opposite the railway entrance gate.

This was brought into action on occasions when required. It didn’t matter what size the crowd was.

Devoted men such as the late Sir Edward Williams, David Laing, Peter Gallagher, Bill Sexton, Phil Sullivan, Tom Treston, Alan Shuck and myself, together with the respective electricians, were aware that we were always protected. The same went for Roy Beckerman and his Committee across the road at Doomben.

What should have been a great day out turned into a debacle if what has been communicated since is true.

One thing I learnt early was that the patrons were always to be the first priority. After all if they don’t attend then racing will just become mundane.

I realize that I will most likely be subjected to ridicule over this article as I have been in the past but when it comes to racing the men who I worked for at Eagle Farm, like myself, had racing at heart.’ 



ALBERT WILLIAMS, of REDCLIFFE, is a regular contributor on all things racing in Queensland and this week weighs into the SKY CHANNEL coverage debate:

THERE are two things you can count on from SKY Channel.

Run of the mill Saturday racing in Queensland will continue to receive ordinary coverage at the expense of the secondary meeting in NSW.

But SKY will never bite the hand that feeds them – so standby for wall-to-wall coverage during the Summer Carnival because they won’t want to offend one of their biggest advertising clients in Gerry Harvey.

The big team will be there front and centre for Magic Millions promoting the carnival as everything that it pretends to be but isn’t. They will ensure that ‘Genial Gerry’ is pleased with the coverage that will encompass plenty of free advertising for his major money-spinner the MM Sales.

SKY will continue to treat Brisbane Saturday racing for the majority of the year like a second rate product. They hit the bottom of the barrel reducing the preview to ‘abbreviated’ coverage last Saturday which prompted even more protests than normal from the industry.

But at the end of the day SKY will just apologize, insist they will improve the service and then fall back to their current behavior when the issue dies down. Nothing will ever change until Racing Queensland or the major race clubs see fit to challenge SKY legally or permit rival broadcaster,, to cover their races on the basis of a breach of contract by the provider that currently enjoys a monopoly.

How condescending was the statement released by SKY in the wake of the latest backlash, headed by no-nonsense trainer Rob Heathcote, regarding their latest bout of shabby treatment for Brisbane racing.

“We are committed to providing the best possible coverage to Queensland racing. We have freed up some space in our Saturday morning schedule to ensure that Brisbane racing receives a full preview of that day’s meeting with comment and analysis of every race,” the statement read.   

What a load of horse manure. Their only commitment is wall-to-wall coverage of racing in NSW. ‘Freeing up some space’ probably means the preview of the secondary, non-event meeting in NSW’ will run for only 45 minutes instead of an hour’.

Such is the commitment commanded by Racing NSW and agreed to by the SKY heavies that one assumes they would rather cover a second rate provincial meeting from NSW than the Melbourne Cup.

They will make things look as though they have changed by appeasing ‘Gerry and the Pacemakers’ at the country’s richest race day farce at the Gold Coast in January which is nothing more than a major meeting for sales related horses and a massive restriction of trade when stakes money is being used that not all can compete for.

At the risk of sounding repetitive it’s time for those calling the shots in racing in Queensland to get off their collective behinds and show SKY the door. Give a broadcaster who cares the rights to cover racing properly for the benefit of all in this state.




‘NOW that a National Tote for Australia is a reality, it’s time to introduce some restrictions on race clubs and stakeholders dealing with these greedy corporate bookmakers.

The time has come for Governments and racing authorities to protect the organization (the merged Tabcorp-Tatts super tote) that will be responsible for the turnover and profits that are poured back into industry prizemoney.

It is imperative that there is a total ban on accepting sponsorships or deals with corporate operators and that should apply to SKY Channel and as well. The wall to wall corporate bookmaker advertising, financed by the profits of Australian gamblers, should be pumped back into the local industry. Instead it is currently going off-shore.

There needs to be an agreement drawn up as part of this new merger that the only betting entity race clubs, control bodies and stakeholders can deal with is the National Tote and that body needs to set aside a massive budget from its profits for advertising to compensate for what will be lost if the corporate bookmaking advertising is banned.

This is the only way to shut these predators down. They contribute nothing to racing in this country yet we continually see them too heavily involved with sponsorships of major race clubs and the financing of TV programs on racing broadcasters like SKY and

The industry cannot stop them from advertising with the major TV and newspaper networks but surely they can do something to halt their involvement with racing organizations that they control.

And as for the bleating which has already emerged about the staff that might be lost when the two gambling giants merge please spare us. The first people packing their bags should be some of those figureheads who manufacture the prices at Tatts. They are the last to post Fixed Odds and have traded at a loss on some big races where one has to question how that would have been possible – like last year’s Melbourne Cup won by the 100-1 chance Prince of Penzance.

Let’s face it. There will really only be the need for one set of price assessors in the three codes rather than two as currently exists. There shouldn’t be the need for the same amount of marketing and broadcast staff. SKY is already involved with Tabcorp so why not use their callers rather than have duplication. It makes more sense to set up a national radio network rather than have massive staff in each state as well – programming duplication would be overcome if it was sourced from one headquarters.

There have already been decisions made to merge the Boards so why not do the same from the top down with executive staff facing the brunt of some of the cost cuts as well. It all makes financial sense with the bottom line that profits made will go to shareholders, the major being all three codes of the racing industry itself.’



BOB JONES of SUNSHINE COAST sent this email:

‘ONE would expect there was no response from the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission to serious allegations of a ‘conflict of interest’ involving their appointment process made by one of their own ‘insiders’ in last week’s Wednesday Whinge.

Nor have they answered continuing criticism over the appointment of Director of Stewarding Jamie Dart or the way the new body is handling the integrity of sport in this state. The attitude seems to be – ignore them and they will go away.

Why not when QRIC appears to be a law unto itself and there has been little or no apparent action at the station to change what is happening on or off the track which is the real reason for the downturn in betting in Queensland which has been highlighted in the wake of the planned takeover of Tatts by Tabcorp or should I call that a merger, ha ha, ha!

EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE’S an interesting item written by TERRY BUTTS in his ‘Silks & Saddles’ column in the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER which again highlights the inefficiencies of QRIC.  

THE FIRST surprise in the long Ekkelstone enquiry was the decision by Rockhampton stewards to suspend leading jockey Adrian Coome for just two months.

Coome was on Ekkelstone in a race at Callaghan Park on July 13. It was well in the market and finished unplaced. Stewards deemed that Coome had ‘not displayed enough vigour’ and that the horse could or should have been in the placings.

Put bluntly – in layman’s terms – they reckoned he pulled it up.

But, importantly, there were no charges laid against the trainer or owners of the horse.

Years ago if stewards reckoned a jockey was ‘dead’ on a horse he got two years’ disqualification. And if they deemed the trainer and connections were not involved in the plan, the jockey could expect five years. 

But at Rocky the stewards were obviously convinced Coome held the horse without the request or consent of connections and gave him a two months’ suspension. How things have changed!

Coome appealed and it was dismissed by the newly formed integrity department of Racing Queensland who were also of the view the jockey had stopped the horse.

Coome, who has always vehemently claimed his innocence, went to the QCAT.

And last week he was there to witness the Judge uphold his appeal.

RQ Integrity Department was not represented by a steward at the hearing.

It is an embarrassment for Racing Queensland but it may not have been the fault of stewards.

They were apparently unaware the appeal was being heard that day and were represented by a lawyer acting for QRIC.

So it was Coome, in the company of Melbourne-based Australian Jockeys’ Association chief Des O’Keefe, who emerged from the QCAT hearing last week bearing a bigger grin than when he won this year’s Townsville Cup on Lightenuff.

The apparent breakdown in communication is not the only problem facing the new QRIC regime, which now handles the transfer of horses – formerly the domain of Racing Queensland. There is, I am told, a backlog of transfers which is taking up to seven weeks to finalise.




WE thought this interesting comment piece on corporate bookmakers, which was written for FAIRFAX MEDIA by SYDNEY sports lawyer, DARREN KANE, was worth reproducing and thank the SMH for allowing us to do so. It will be of particular interest to some in Queensland as one of the parties who figures prominently is well known in the industry there.

"GAMBLE RESPONSIBLY". If there's one ubiquitous message, cutting through all professional sports, and the wall-to-wall media coverage of them - Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival is the exemplar - it's that betting on sport is integral to the spectacle. Provided your wagering is practised with sufficient restraint and responsibility, of course.

That import is utter rot. For after what I'm about to tell you, you'd have to be possessed of the mental acuity of a malnourished pot plant, to bet with many online, "corporate" bookmakers. Nick Williams, the part-owner of Melbourne Cup winner Almandin this week accused the corporate bookmaking industry of "thievery". Williams is so right, it's wrong.

Never before in this column have I written about cases I've been directly involved in. It's not that I'm prevented from doing so - I've simply made it a rule, not to. Yet as with all rules, there's exceptions. So, with the express consent of a client of mine - call him Jim* (his real name) - I'm gonna tell you a story ...

BetHQ Pty Limited became a company in August 2014, on registration with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. BetHQ's only director and shareholder was, and is a person named Gary Ball. BetHQ is, as its name suggests, a bookmaker. BetHQ's spruiks on its website its "Proudly Australian Owned", and an approved betting operator of Australia's major sports governing bodies, including the AFL, NRL and Cricket Australia - each organisation's logo is plastered on the homepage.

On October 24, 2014 the Norfolk Island Gaming Authority (NIGA) granted BetHQ a licence to act as a racing and sports bookmaker and betting exchange. That licence, granted by NIGA under Norfolk Island's Bookmakers and Betting Act, entitled BetHQ to accepts bets from customers worldwide. The licence contained many typical provisions, governing things like BetHQ's debt and equity ratios, and minimum cash reserves.

My client opened an online account with BetHQ in October 2015. That his BetHQ-issued account number was six-thousand-and-something does of itself suggest that thousands of others had done the same thing in BetHQ's first year. Jim then made a series of deposits totalling $1,000. Using that bank, and by placing bets exclusively on greyhounds, Jim quickly turned his gorilla into roughly $26,000. Sore of losing, BetHQ then got in touch.

In November 2015 BetHQ told Jim there'd be no more greyhounds for him, but he could bet on anything else. Problem is that Jim prefers the dishlickers, thus BetHQ's stance was unpalatable. So, Jim asked for his winnings to be paid out; the account closed. Pausing there, the non-punters among you might reasonably expect this is akin to withdrawing from a bank. It isn't anything of the sort.

Between November 2015 and January 2016 BetHQ played funny buggers with Jim, asking for his passport, driver's licence and proof of his address. BetHQ even demanded (and received) a statutory declaration, certifying that Jim's account had been operated only by him; only for his benefit; and in accordance with BetHQ's rules. Yet even after all that, still no moolah. Which is where I became involved.

In late February 2016 I wrote to BetHQ and NIGA, demanding my client's money. NIGA were useless. On March 4, 2016 I received a letter from BetHQ signed by Mr Ball, in which he suggested an "investigation" had commenced, into whether Jim's account had been used "improperly". The letter ended with a thinly-veiled, arid threat: to "make public" the details of BetHQ's spurious "investigation", unless Jim dropped off.

On March 7, 2016 I again wrote to Mr Ball, demanding BetHQ immediately identify the nature of its "investigation", and provide me copies of all relevant documents. And, I demanded my client's winnings for the second time. BetHQ never responded - its "investigation" was a ruse, for what I'm unsure.

Faced with limited options Jim then issued BetHQ with what's known as a "statutory demand" for the money, in the manner strictly required by the Corporations Act. The day before, the Commonwealth's Minister for Territories Paul Fletcher - Norfolk Island is an Australian territory, much like the Northern Territory and the ACT - revoked NIGA's powers to issue and renew wagering licences, and restricted NIGA's power to effect any transfer or variation of licences without permission of the Commonwealth.

Once served with the demand, BetHQ had three weeks to commence court proceedings. If the "investigation" was genuine then BetHQ could have done exactly that. Yet BetHQ took no such step, and was therefore presumed insolvent under the law (Mr Ball suggested in evidence he never received the demand). So, in June 2016 my client took the next step, of commencing proceedings in the Federal Court, seeking that BetHQ be placed into liquidation. Racing Victoria later joined in, BetHQ owing it thousands.

On the day before the matter went to court for the second time, Mr Ball rang me (Mr Ball didn't turn up the first time). He suggested my client was wasting his time in court, because Mr Ball himself was going to appoint the liquidators to BetHQ. But a good sleep resulted in a change of heart, because in court the next morning Mr Ball - representing BetHQ without a lawyer - began punching hard, vehemently opposing the court appointing liquidators.

Adjournments followed; the Court only finalised the matter in late October. To quote the judgment, BetHQ adduced "entirely inadequate" evidence proving its solvency - indeed the only evidence was that Mr Ball still owed BetHQ almost $200,000 for his shares. Mr Ball's evidence was that BetHQ hadn't traded since April - exactly why isn't known. Presumed insolvent, the court ordered BetHQ be placed into liquidation. Those orders were triggered the day before the Melbourne Cup.

It is entirely likely, that thousands of innocent punters, sports governing bodies and other creditors are owed money by BetHQ. None will likely see that money again, which is disgraceful. Where all the money went, between when BetHQ was licensed in October 2014 and when it (apparently) ceased trading last April, is a mystery - maybe it'll be unravelled by the liquidator. It's quite likely that BetHQ held no punters' funds in Australia; that BetHQ operated as a type of Ponzi scheme.

Punters have a legitimate right to expect that bookmaking licences are granted with great scrutiny, not just handed out in specially-marked Corn Flakes packets. If a rails bookmaker runs dry of folding at Flemington, there's a fidelity fund that offers punters some protection - tinpot organisations licensed in Norfolk Island have no equivalent safety net.

For that matter, what steps did the likes of the NRL and Cricket Australia take, to ensure their logos are used only by licensed and vetted operators. It's fine to hector punters; to "GAMBLE RESPONSIBLY". But can the punter trust he'll ever see his responsibly-earned winnings?

The Roman poet Juvenal famously wrote: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes" - who will guard the guards themselves? The answer I know not; though I'm certain thousands of unknowing, responsible punters have done their cash cold.


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the above e-mails should not be interpreted as those of JOHN LINGARD, the owner-editor of the letsgohorseracing web-site. That is why he has added an ‘EDITOR’S NOTE’. Every endeavor is made to verify the authenticity of contributors. We welcome any reasonable and constructive responses from parties or individuals.


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