Ex-Police Officer Alleged to Have Used Racing Fans’ Money for Horses

Dishonest businessman lying and holding fingers crossed behind his back

30-second summary

  • £2m ($2.6m) is used to purchase and care for 23 horses
  • Former UK sports minister calls for gambling syndicate regulation
  • Betting syndicates don’t require a license

Concerns raised over members’ money

It is alleged that a 62-year-old former police officer used racing fans’ money from a gambling syndicate without their knowledge to buy horses and pay vet and training fees. An investigation has been called for.

Mike Stanley, who runs the Layezy Racing gambling syndicate and the Layezy Racing Owners Club, is a former police officer in Kent, UK.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, a Sportsmail investigation raised concerns over millions of pounds that racing fans had been investing in the syndicate. The report alleges that, since April, Stanley has used syndicate members’ money, spending around £2m on the purchase and care of 23 horses.

Before joining the syndicate, potential members are explained about how it works. Once members have transferred money into one of several bank accounts, the Layezy team is permitted to gamble with that money at their discretion “on bets identified by the system.”

The system in question is a betting bot designed by Stanley. Members can see their balances, along with how much money they put in and how much they have earned. However, they are advised to look at it as a long-term investment. If they do want to withdraw money, rules introduced last year mean they can only take out £50,000 ($64,500) per month and they need to give 14 days’ notice.

After the use of nearly £2m, a complaint has been made to police. Tracey Crouch, the former minister of sport, has also called for a police investigation. The MP for Chatham and Aylesford, the location of Layezy Racing, said that there needs to be more thought over the regulation of betting syndicates.

“I’m obviously very concerned hard-working people from Chatham and beyond have been sold a dream to fund someone else’s racehorses,” she added. “I would certainly urge the police to investigate the matter if members are worried about their money.”

In November, Crouch resigned as sports minister following the delay in introducing a cap on fixed odds betting stakes. MP Mims Davies later replaced Crouch. The U.K. government has also agreed to implement a stake cut by April 1.

No license required

According to James Farrell of law firm Slater and Gordon, betting syndicates aren’t required to obtain a license from the Gambling Commission or the British Horseracing Authority, meaning that potential bettors are at risk of losing their money.

He went on to say: “Any investigation would look at whether the investors’ funds were being used for the purpose agreed with the syndicate organizer. If funds are used for another purpose, it would immediately raise questions.”

The report says that the club has no rules that members’ money can be used to purchase horses.