9th February 2018
The Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF) will be having a change of leadership on March 5, when long-time member Matt Bisogno will take over from Simon Rowlands as Chair of the officially recognised body representing punters’ interests in British racing.
Rowlands, who has been Chair of HBF since its inception in August of 2015, will remain on the Forum, which currently has seven members. HBF members meet quarterly as well as correspond extensively among themselves and with industry decision-makers between and at those meetings.
"It was originally the intention that the Chair would step aside after two years, but I stayed on until after the launch of HBF’s Betting Charter in December and HBF’s participation in the All-Party seminar on account closures in Parliament in January.
“Those two things have been among HBF’s most significant achievements over the last couple of years, but the Forum has also been very active in pushing for improved data provision – such as through the mandatory declaration of wind operations – and in pressing for a tightening in non-runner procedures and the implementation of 48-hour declarations for the Cheltenham Festival.
“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of such a forward-thinking and necessary concept, and to have worked alongside such talented and passionate individuals in pursuit of common goals.
“In particular, I would like to thank the BHA for their assistance in setting up HBF and their ongoing support, which has not prevented HBF from asserting its independence, and Matt Bisogno, who I am absolutely confident is the right person to steer HBF from here. I will still be involved in HBF activities to a major degree.”
Matt Bisogno, an HBF member since the outset, a keen bettor, a syndicate manager, and owner of the popular betting site geegeez.co.uk said:
“It has been a pleasure to witness at first hand, and to contribute to, the emergence of a voice for the British horseracing betting public.
“With the support of the BHA and a huge amount of work from Forum members, HBF has established itself as a credible and effective lobby group under Simon’s astute leadership. He will be a very tough act to follow, and I am grateful that he will continue to serve on HBF for the foreseeable future.
“As I move into the chair, HBF is working on a number of fronts on behalf of racing’s bettors, including more and better data provision, greater fairness and transparency in bookmakers’ terms and conditions, and a minimum-bet liability.
“Since HBF was established in 2015, all of these hitherto-distant prospects have moved at least a step closer to being realised, and I, along with other members of the Forum, will continue to work on behalf of the racing betting public towards our core objectives.”
Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the BHA, said
“Simon has been instrumental in setting up and guiding the HBF in its initial phase. Under his chairmanship, the Forum has become an important voice within the racing and betting industries, speaking on behalf of bettors.”
“HBF has also made recommendations which have been instrumental in the launching of a number of initiatives to benefit the betting public.
“Matt has been an important member of the HBF since its inception and I'm sure he will carry on the good work of his predecessor. We are looking forward to continuing to work alongside the HBF in the future under Matt's guidance as the new Chair.”