PUNDIT John McCririck believes plans to scrap fractional odds in favour of decimals will ultimately hit punters in the pocket.
Decimal odds such as 1.5/1 will be trialled instead of the traditional 6/4 later this year, as part of a range of proposals aimed at broadening appeal.
But while the system may be familiar to internet-savvy gamblers who use online betting exchanges such as Betfair, McCririck believes it will only benefit bookmakers. Under the fractional system the next longest odds after 7/2 are 4/1, but decimalisation would mean 3.5/1 (the same as 7/2) would be followed by 3.6/1 and so on, meaning potentially less value for customers. “When they take these fractions away the punters will inevitably lose out, but change is inevitable,” said the television commentator. “All these changes – in the end, the customers have to pay for it.”
As well as the odds revamp, the Racing For Change taskforce yesterday formally proposed jockeys and trainers be given media training to improve the sport’s image. Other proposals include photo-finishes being made instantly available to the crowd and jockeys’ first names being included on racecards.
RACE FOR CHANGE | KEY PROPOSALS
• Decimal odds to replace fractional
• Media training for jockeys and trainers
• Photo finishes displayed more quickly and saddle numbers to be clearer
• Jockeys’ first names on racecards
• Concessions for young people attending race meetings
• Website and PR campaign aimed at attracting wider audience and new fans