Concerns over UK Affordability Checks Put MP and Experts on Edge

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As the review of Gambling Act 2005 looms, lawmakers and experts have raised concerns over the potential industry-crippling ramifications of enhanced affordability checks on racing in the UK.

Sports Betting Income in Jeopardy

Today, talk of the review of the UK’s 2005 regulatory act on gambling is primarily centered on introducing a monthly cap of £100.

According to MP Laurence Robertson introducing such measures will severely impact British racing as its income from betting is £350 million per year. If this input were to be lost the Tewkesbury MP expressed worry that racing would not survive.

The new regulations stipulate enhanced affordability checks once a customer experiences a monthly net loss of £100.

Robertson, who is also advisor to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), stated that any new regulations should take into account the possibility of unintended consequences if customers refuse to provide their confidential financial data to operators.

Black Market and Unregulated Betting Are a Concern as Well

The MP also discussed the impact such affordability checks would have on the gambling industry as a whole and the threat of customers being driven to the black market due to proof of income requirements.

In a statement, Robertson said: “Once those customers leave the regulated market, both the regulated industry and the commission lose the opportunity to protect them. The risk posed by this should not be understated.”

He urged the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to work with the industry to establish regulations which will protect customers, while avoiding unnecessary limits that could potentially increase problem gambling.

Up to 60 Million Pounds Estimated Loss for Horseracing

British horseracing is in danger of losing up to £60 million in media rights and fees if customers are put off of gambling due to increased control over betting.

According to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) gambling regulations fit for the digital age are necessary; however, they need to be evidence-based and carefully evaluated on their socio-economic impact in order to avoid any unintentional consequences for the industry.

The BHA has issued a submission to parliament considering consumers who enjoy betting safely and responsibly and their worries. In addition they’ve highlighted serious concerns regarding the new regulations’ impact on the industry’s finances, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Simultaneously, both Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab have also debated the issues around the review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Industry experts such as Arena Racing Company (ARC) CEO Martin Cruddace and Jockey Club CEO Nevin Truesdale have released a worst case scenario with an estimated loss of £100 million.

Former GVC Chief Executive Kenny Alexander has also warned the betting and horseracing industry will face drastic ramifications if a monthly £100 cap is introduced.

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