Jockey Club chief executive Nevin Truesdale has claimed the organisation's recent deal with casino giant Playtech was "misunderstood" as he launched a staunch defence against recent criticism – and revealed it has stopped allowing casino products to feature in race titles.
Truesdale was speaking to the Racing Post for a major article in Sunday's newspaper which explores the Jockey Club's role in racing in light of many recent controversies, asking whether it is still working for the good of the sport or is motivated more by self-interest.
The Jockey Club was accused of undermining efforts to differentiate betting on racing from games of chance when it signed a five-year deal in February with gambling technology company Playtech, which is set to develop a range of online casino, poker, virtual sports and bingo games based on the Jockey Club's most famous races and racecourses.
However, Truesdale said: "I do think, to a degree, that particular deal and decision has been a little misunderstood.
"These games are very safe and they've been around for years, with close links to racing. For us, it's about saying, if this is already happening using brands closely associated with our own, and if we're in a position to make some money out of it, shouldn't we be involved? We had to make a judgement call, mindful that it's also about trying to engage a new audience."
Pushed on how this position contrasted with the recent announcement by Arena Racing Company to refuse casino products to be used in race titles on its courses, Truesdale said the Jockey Club had now done the same thing.
"I think that's totally different to the Playtech deal," he said. "It was an industry decision and we've done the same – I just chose not to make a big song and dance about it."
Read Lee Mottershead's investigation into the Jockey Club in The Big Read, available online for Members' Club Ultimate subscribers from 6pm on Saturday or in Sunday's Racing Post newspaper. Click here to sign up.
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