No matter what country you’re talking about, when it comes to the battle over horse racing levies, there’s zero love lost between bookies and the folks with horse shit on their Wellies. The latest row kicked off in Ireland when the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) made the claim that Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) was doing a piss-poor job with the monies it had received from the bookies, which IBA said was proof that HRI didn’t deserve one penny more than they were already getting.
In making the claim, the IBA’s Exhibit A was a ‘forensic assessment’ of HRI’s annual statements performed by accountants KPMG on behalf of the IBA. Since then, however, KPMG have rejected the IBA’s claims, stating that the preliminary analysis in their report “does not have the attributes that one would ordinarily associate with a forensic investigation” and therefore “was not in our view an appropriate basis for the conclusions drawn and commentary issued by the IBA.” As such, KPMG has directed the IBA to ‘cease and desist’ future use of the report.
Not willing to look a publicity gift horse in the mouth, HRI’s CEO Brian Kavanagh immediately called out the IBA for acting “recklessly in their misuse of … flawed and meaningless figures in a defamatory campaign against HRI and the Irish racing industry.” Not to be outdone, the IBA maintain that HRI spending is ‘out of control and requires appropriate investigation’ and that the IBA was ‘bemused at attempts to disown figures which are verifiable from publicly listed documents and official accounts.’
Pistols at dawn, anyone?