Simon Rowlands is to step down as chair of the Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF) next month, with longtime member Matt Bisogno taking the reigns.
The officially recognised body, which represents punters interests in British racing, is to see the change of leadership on March 5.
Rowlands, who has occupied the position since the HBF’s inception in August 2015, was originally set to step aside after two years in the role, but stayed on to facilitate the launch of HBF’s Betting Charter in December, in addition to the HBF participation in the All-Party seminar on account closures in Parliament in January.
Speaking about his time in the role Rowlands, who will remain on the forum, stated: “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.”
Bisogno, an HBF member since its outset, syndicate manager, and owner of the betting site geegeez.co.uk stated: “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.
Concluding, Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, 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.”