February 28, 2024 3 min read

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UK Government’s Gambling Crackdown Faces Backlash from Tory MPs

MP Philip Davies, alongside other Conservative members, leveled allegations against ministers, claiming they embraced an elitist position by imposing affordability checks that disproportionately affected everyday punters

UK Tory MPs, including Philip Davies, have lambasted the UK government’s gambling crackdown plans as “completely outrageous,” igniting a fierce rebellion within the party ranks.

Tory MP Philip Davies Slams Government’s ‘Snobbish’ Attitude Towards Punters

Philip Davies, vocal in his opposition, criticized the government for what he perceives as a snobbish attitude towards punters, reported Birmingham Mail. Davies stated that he believed the government was treating punters as some kind of pariah and found it completely outrageous. 

He added that the party used to believe in individual freedom and individual responsibility. His sentiments echo those of fellow Conservatives who accuse ministers of adopting an elitist stance, penalizing ordinary punters with affordability checks.

Concerns have also been raised by constituents, with Burton MP Kate Kniveton expressing fears over the potential intrusiveness of the proposed checks.

 Meanwhile, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) defended its stance, asserting that the measures are necessary to safeguard individuals from significant financial losses. A spokesperson for the DCMS emphasized that the plans involved implementing “light-touch, frictionless checks” aimed at protecting people from potentially life-changing losses.

Debate Ensues Over Horseracing’s Future Amid Affordability Checks

The proposed crackdown has sparked additional apprehensions within the horseracing industry, with ministers warning of potential job losses. British Horseracing Authority chief executive Julie Harrington highlighted the alarming prospect of up to 1,000 job losses in the industry due to the impact of the affordability checks on betting.

In response, a DCMS spokesperson reiterated the government’s commitment to supporting the horseracing sector, acknowledging its cultural and historical significance. They emphasized the government’s intention to review the horse race betting levy to ensure a sustainable future for the sport.

Nevertheless, the spokesperson defended the necessity of implementing financial risk checks to mitigate the risks associated with gambling-related harm. They criticized the current system as inconsistent and burdensome, asserting that the proposed checks aim to streamline the process while effectively protecting the majority of individuals from potential harm.

As opposition to the government’s plans mounts, MPs have been compelled to reevaluate the proposed measures, prompted in part by a petition garnering over 100,000 signatures in opposition to the crackdown. The petition, initiated by Jockey Club CEO Nevin Truesdale, raised concerns about potential job losses and market destabilization. 

At the same time, a recent survey conducted by GambleAware revealed strong public support, with three in five adults (57%) backing enhanced financial risk checks aimed at preventing at-risk players from overspending. 

The charity emphasized the importance of introducing frictionless checks, citing data that suggests 63% of respondents believe such measures would reduce the number of problem players. 

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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