05/20/2011 1:12PM

British authority brings race-fixing charges

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The British Horseracing Authority has charged two owners, five jockeys, and six other individuals with conspiring to fix 10 races at British racecourses over a period of eight months in 2009, the authority said on Friday.

The charges all relate to efforts by the individuals to collect wagers on betting exchanges by ensuring that horses lost the races, the authority said. The 10 races took place at relatively minor racetracks in Great Britain.

The five jockeys charged as a result of the authority’s investigation are Paul Doe, Greg Fairly, Paul Fitzsimmons, Kirsty Milczarek, and Jimmy Quinn. Fitzsimmons was a jockey at the time the races were run, but he is now a licensed trainer.

The owners who were charged are Maurice Sines and James Crickmore, and both are facing charges that they bet on horses they owned to lose. In addition, six other individuals – Peter Gold, Nick Gold, Haun Harris, David Kendrick, Darren May and Liam Vasey – were charged with conspiring with the owners and jockeys, the authority said.

Under the British rules of racing, the jockeys are facing a minimum ban of five years and a maximum ban of 25 years.

Betting on horses to lose has been made possible by the advent 10 years ago of betting exchanges, which match players who are looking to bet on or against horses. Betting exchange operators have said that they fully cooperate with all investigations into suspicious betting activity on their sites, and that they have enforcement divisions that alert authorities to potential illegal activity.

The legislatures in California and New Jersey passed bills last year legalizing betting exchanges. The laws require racetracks, horsemen, and betting exchanges to reach agreement on how revenue from the operations would be divided. Agreements have yet to be reached, and regulators in both states have not yet drafted regulations to govern the practice.