Think your son is going to be the next heavyweight champion of the world? Or perhaps he will break Wayne Rooney’s England goalscoring record? Or maybe, just maybe you have a friend who owns a share in a horse and he’s given you a red-hot tip? The issue of betting on someone you know, or even yourself, is – like much in the world of betting – something of a grey area, although in truth it’s actually relatively straightforward.
Whilst you may be worried about accusations of “insider trading” and be concerned that what you are doing is illegal, in actual fact, as a general rule, anyone can bet on anything they want. Certainly bookies will accept the bet and there are unlikely to be any direct legal issues, however, all professional and even amateur sports will have a code of conduct and this is where, more than likely, problems would arise.
What Is and Isn’t Allowed?
To speak generally again, betting for yourself, your horse, or your friend or family member, is less likely to be an issue than betting AGAINST yourself. In horse racing, a sport founded on betting, owners and trainers often bet on their own horses and this is perfectly acceptable. In contrast, betting against the horse to do well is not permitted by the British Horseracing Association (BHA). Fines and bans can be imposed and often have been in the past, whilst these rules extend beyond owners, trainers and jockeys, to include lesser connections too.
Is this Match Fixing?
Match-fixing, spot-fixing, accepting or offering bribes and the like are, of course, illegal and there have been lots of examples in the news of this problem rearing its ugly head in a range of sports from horse racing to cricket to snooker. The BHA has sometimes found it difficult to draw a clear line in the case of betting against one’s own horse and grey areas do exist in many sports. The possibility for doubt has led the Football Association to ban all professional footballers from betting on any football worldwide and different sports have looked to handle these issues in a variety of ways. In many sports betting against yourself is banned, whilst backing yourself to do well is fine.
Clearly there is a huge difference between betting on your son or daughter to play for England 20 years hence and a cricketer taking money to bowl a no ball at a given time or a certain number of wides in a game. Likewise, backing your friend’s horse to win a race when you have a great tip is a far cry from a professional snooker player taking cash to lose a match by an exact score.
The sporting and betting world have come together to try and irradiate match fixing within sport, with betting sites notifying authorities of any suspicious betting patterns, for example huge bets being placed on markets where normally people bet just a few pounds. In general, however, punters can bet on whatever they like, it is only the competitors themselves who are subject to restrictions and these are, first and foremost, imposed not by the bookies or the law, but by the ruling bodies of the various sports.
So, if you happen to be friends with Ronnie O’Sullivan, have a brother who plays for Scunthorpe, went to school with Amir Khan or perhaps play the odd bit of chess with Andy Murray, and they happen to tell you they’ve got a bit of a cold and don’t fancy their chances, you are free to bet as you feel. As long as the sportspeople themselves receive no benefit, financial or otherwise, you should be in the clear … and remember to pass the tip on to us!