British Horseracing Authority rules have changed to allow restricted commercial agreements between jockeys and betting companies. Jockeys are now able to enter into agreements with betting firms as long as a number of conditions are met. The “Rider Manual” has amended so that rule 79 “Payment for non-riding services” allows such agreements.
You can see the entire rule here and in short, it means when entering an agreement you must inform the Racing Calendar Office of the name of the company, start and end date of agreement, a summary of services provided by the rider, and all benefits received under the arrangement. Even if they’re writing 200 hundred words in exchange for a pair of stilts it has to be declared.
It’s good for both sides the rules have changed and this was a view echoed by those in the gaming industry. Kate Miller, Head of Racing Media at William Hill, said: “It’s great for bookies and jockeys. Bookmakers have a natural relationship with racing and from our point of view, we want to be married up with the most high profile individuals in the sport. It’s an opportunity for us to be tied in with racing which is the one of our most important products.
The rules still state that jockeys cannot carry actual sponsorship on silks and would be punished for doing so. In terms of the future for sponsorship of this ilk, Miller wasn’t as sure the BHA “would relax rules enough for silk sponsorship.” She added, “It would be nice but it’s unlikely.”
Horseracing and bookmakers have always been intertwined and this agreement makes sense from both sides of the post.