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Silvia Pavlof December 1, 2023 3 min read
Petition Against Affordability Checks in the UK Surpasses 100,000 Signatures
The development has elevated the issue to a potential parliamentary debate, signaling growing concerns within the industry
The racing community has rallied against the proposed implementation of betting affordability checks, with a petition garnering over 100,000 signatures.
Jockey Club CEO Launches Petition Against Intrusive Financial Regulations in Racing Industry
The petition, initiated by Jockey Club chief executive Nevin Truesdale, highlights fears that intrusive financial risk regulations could push punters toward unlicensed bookmakers. Industry leaders warn that such measures could result in a staggering £250 million ($316.1 million) loss over the next five years, posing a significant threat to racecourses and jeopardizing over 80,000 jobs associated with racing.
Expressing the sentiment of the racing community, National Hunt trainer Nicky Henderson, in an open letter to Racing TV customers, emphasized the widespread impact of the issue. Henderson noted conversations with punters who adamantly refused to disclose personal financial information, a sentiment echoed by many.
The petition contends that the proposed checks, including assessing individuals based on their postcode or job title, are inappropriate and discriminatory. Concerns are raised that bettors may be required to prove their financial capacity for losses as low as £1.37 ($1.73) per day.
While acknowledging the need to address problem gambling, petitioners argue that more intrusive checks could drive bettors to the unregulated black market, devoid of consumer protections.
The UK Government Assures Frictionless Betting Checks
The racing community’s push for a parliamentary debate gained momentum with the petition crossing the 100,000-signature threshold. Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, Julie Harrington, emphasized the importance of debating the issue and scrutinizing its potential impacts on safe betting within horseracing.
The government, however, maintains that the proposed financial risk checks aim to protect those vulnerable to gambling harm. Responding to the petition, a government spokesman highlighted the commitment to a proportionate, frictionless system.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s estimate suggests that such checks may reduce online horserace betting yield by 6% to 11%, translating to a potential income reduction for racing between £8.4 million ($10.6 million) to £14.9 million ($18.8 million) per year.
Meanwhile, the government persists in its endeavors to assure gamblers that the anticipated affordability checks outlined in the proposal will be seamless and won’t pose issues for the majority of British gamblers.
Andrew Rhodes of the UK Gambling Commission has been expressing growing dissatisfaction with what he perceives as “intentional efforts” to mislead the public.At the same time, a recent report suggested that UK financial institutions may be unintentionally contributing to gambling harm by lending money to individuals at risk.