Racecourse officials have admitted that there is ‘limited further action’ that can be taken to combat the unauthorised use of drones at British racetracks.

Recent reports have suggested that streaming drone images can be used as a way to give punters placing in-running bets an unfair advantage.

The images streamed via TV channels are often delayed by several seconds, but drone images are streamed instantly.

It therefore means that punters will have a several-second chance to observe race development, and then back or lay horses accordingly.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) does permit use of drones on the racecourse, subject to operators abiding by a set of guidelines focused on protecting the safety of all participants.

The BHA’s head of media Robin Mounsey emphasised: “Responsibility for preventing unauthorised intrusion by drones above a racecourse sits with the racecourses themselves.

“If required or appropriate, racecourses might wish to call on the support of local law enforcement to deal with an issue around unregulated drones.

“The BHA stewards would become involved if they are asked by the racecourse executive to either delay, or abandon a race or races because drones were on site and causing a risk to horses, participants or the general public.”

Caroline Davies, RCA racecourse services director, also commented on the use of drones at UK courses, stating that more needs to be done: “The RCA takes a proactive lead providing guidance to racecourses around drone usage.

“This involves best practice from the Civil Aviation Authority and other relevant authorities as well as taking into account how other venues have handled similar situations.

“Given the recent emphasis on drone safety, racecourses are revisiting their risk assessments. The safety and enjoyment of all racegoers is of the utmost priority.”

Another issue raised by RCA officials is the contravention of media rights through the use of drones. The sale of pictures from drones mean that sellers would be breaching the media rights deals that TV companies have agreed with tracks.

Davies added: “In addition, racecourses work alongside the emergency services and security providers should any issues be encountered with unwanted drones.

“Whilst frustrating, if the operator is not breaking the law there is limited further action that can be taken at this time.”

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