| 13.8°C Belfast

McCririck backs punters’ rights

John McCririck expects some bookmakers to resist the Racing For Change trial initiatives — and that punters could even lose out in the switch to decimal odds.

The Channel 4 Racing pundit is wholeheartedly in favour of the proposals, but would like to see more from the new project board tasked with modernising the sport and widening its appeal.

Two of the 10 key points announced yesterday are a trial period for decimal odds instead of the old fractions, and on-course bookmakers being encouraged to offer standard each-way terms.

“The changes are cosmetic, but they have to come and what interests me the most are the betting areas,” McCririck said.

“Decimalisation is right, but in the end punters will lose by this. If a horse is going out from 7-2, it can only go to 4-1.

“What's going to happen now is that it's going to be 36-10, then 37-10, 38-10, 39-10. Punters will lose out by this like all decimalisation changes.

“The off-course bookmakers are well equipped and will go along with it no trouble at all. It's on course, that is where the resistance will come. Those bookmakers will hate it, it's change.

“I'm used to the old fractions but I realise decimalisation is here. It has been brought it in as a PR exercise to bring in younger people, and quite rightly so, but in the end punters will lose by this. These changes don't work in favour of the punters and bookmakers will soon realise the advantage they have got.”

McCririck believes it will be tough persuading on-course layers to offer punters the each-way terms they are used to.

“The question here is can you enforce legally both the decimalisation and place terms that are available off-course?” he said.

Belfast Telegraph