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Asian Racing Conference

The ARC kicked off today in Sydney, with the stand-out speaker being an Australian called Peter Sheahan.

He talked about how to engage Generation Y, and challenged the racing folk present to attract youth in order to make racing ‘cool’, citing brands such as Burberry and Mambo as organisations which had successfully recruited both young and old by targeting the former and getting the latter as a consequence.

Nic Coward briefly presented Racing for Change, and he came a creditable second place in the line of speakers – no disgrace given that Sheahan was outstandingly good, but also not difficult given what I thought were disappointing performances from the other speakers.

He (NC) was relaxed and authoritative, and spoke, in my view, better than I have heard him for a long time. His voice was pitched notably lower than recent occasions when I’ve been present, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that he wasn’t ranting about us. He probably heads the (reasonably long) list of people who are effective and talented communicators on a range of subjects, but suddenly and inexplicably lose the plot when getting onto the subject of Betfair.

He said he fully supported Sheahan’s views, which brought me back to the thoughts I had in January about how I think British racing talks about wanting to embrace the Facebook generation, without necessarily understanding that that means doing so on their (the FB generation’s) terms, rather than their own (racing’s). We’ll see.

Tomorrow’s schedule includes the ‘Big Debate’ on wagering, when our chairman and co-founder Edward Wray joins a panel which will include Peter Savill, the former Chairman of the BHB, and Peter V’Landys, the CEO of Racing NSW (and indeed Nic Coward). Ralph Topping was due to be on the panel, but hasn’t made it. One can only assume that he’s stuck somewhere.

No cheap jokes, please, given that I managed to avoid one myself.

Posted in Australia, Betfair, Betting industry, Regulation.

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