The open debate on the merits, pitfalls and machinations of betting exchanges continues to take space in newspapers around the world, with Betfair reported now to have turned its attention to discussions on Australia. How it is being received in Sydney is as yet unknown but, given that a law similar to the Betting Ordinance Amendments was enacted there somewhat earlier than in Hong Kong, Betfair is not likely to find the greeting any warmer. In Hong Kong, meanwhile, a siege mentality seems to have been adopted on gambling, whereby every and any threat must be repelled in principle and entirely, rather than examined and milked for any good it may contain. The Jockey Club's rigid stance on exchanges as clever but ultimately a power for evil and a threat to integrity throughout the world is surely taking it too far, and must make it impossible to include the concept in any scenario on soccer betting operations, where it may have been the ideal. Betfair's Mark Davies has been at pains to explain how the firm has massive potential for fighting activities which threaten racing's integrity and that it offers access to much more information on the who, what, where and when of betting than any previous system. The Jockey Club's Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges has countered now that if evidence of criminal activity is required before names are given out to racing authorities, then what constitutes a serious integrity breach in the sport's own terms may not lead to assistance from the firms, rendering such promises empty. A jockey who bets is breaching the rules of racing but is not undertaking a criminal activity, even if the jockey was betting against his or her own rides. Would a name be handed to racing authorities for betting through an exchange? Likewise, he believes that betting exchanges are morally wrong as they provide the opportunities for wrongdoing or insider trading. An owner or trainer who is aware of some health reason why a horse probably won't win may choose to benefit from that inside knowledge and lay the horse. They may also take the extra step to ensure it doesn't surprise, if given a financial reason to take the step. At the end of the day, though, surely there is merit to the view that people have never had any problem finding crooked ways to do things if that is what they seek and someone always will. There is nothing to stop any so-called insider betting legally against his own horse through the Jockey Club tote if he or she has a 'sure lose' favourite. It comes down to the policing of the game, and exchanges do promise a more defined money trail than at any previous time. To hold them to that kind of promise would first require some acceptance of their potential and see where it could lead. There is a view among some in racing, that authorities everywhere are trying to hold back the tide - that the Jockey Club for instance has erred in fixing its flag so determinedly to the mast of the questionable Good Neighbour policy in an ocean where sharks have always been in the waters and are now swimming the Web in ever increasing numbers. Regardless of any technological improvement, the Club is sticking to the old roads and how things have always been and continuing to pray for a return to the boom days of 1997, instead of looking for new directions. Betting exchanges will thrive simply because the customer will overwhelmingly want them and one has to ponder whether it is an error not to look more closely at something the customer wants. The guys running the Jockey Club are powerful, smart businessmen. Would they so readily shout down a rival's innovation in any other business, or would they find out what it could do for them?