Gambling Law Sportsbook

MP's Issue Warning Regarding Possible Effects Of Gaming Reforms On Horse Racing

On Tuesday, the British racing industry expressed concerns to MPs about the potential financial repercussions of the government's proposed gambling changes.

MP's Issue Warning Regarding Possible Effects Of Gaming Reforms On Horse Racing
MP's Issue Warning Regarding Possible Effects Of Gaming Reforms On Horse Racing

The Culture, Media, and Sport select committee heard testimony from Michael Dugher, chief executive of the betting industry's trade group, the Betting and Gaming Council, who said the sport had been given a "warning" about potential changes due to affordability checks on bettors already implemented by bookmakers.

Dugher also cautioned the committee that, should ministers move forward with levy reform to make up for any revenue shortfall in the sport brought on by its intentions to implement financial risk checks for clients, there was a limited supply of money available for racing from the betting sector.

The select committee heard testimony at its second oral hearing since beginning its investigation into gambling regulation in December.

Since then, the government has released its long-delayed gambling review white paper, which contained plans for bettors to go through what has been dubbed "frictionless" financial risk checks to demonstrate that they could afford the money they spend on betting.

"What impact will these reforms have on the viability of the UK horseracing and breeding industry?" Dame Caroline Dinenage, the committee's head, asked Dugher.

"If you hit our revenues and our turnover, that has a direct and corresponding impact on horseracing funding.

Dugher commented, "As an industry, we provide £350 million a year in funding to racing. There is, perhaps more than any sport, a symbiotic relationship between racing and betting. That is something that we have been worried about, that racing has been worried about.

"A lot of MPs will have seen the majority of any correspondence on this issue will have come from racing punters, or from those with racecourse interests, or owners and trainers worried about the future of the sport." 

Due to affordability checks, Dugher claimed that betting turnover had already decreased in the racing industry. He continued: "So they have already had a warning of things to come."

According to gambling minister Stuart Andrew, British racing's major funding mechanism, the levy, is currently being reviewed by the government to ensure it is adequately funded.

Dugher said: "The government admits in the white paper that there will be a reduction in the money going to racing. What it says is it will have a conversation by the end of the year in terms of looking at the horseracing levy."

But according to Dugher, football surpassed horse racing as the most popular sport at bookmakers.

He also added: "It's also for the operators an increasingly expensive one, particularly because media rights have also gone up. There is only so much money available from one way or another to racing."

Wes Himes, a colleague of Dugher's at the BGC, and others were also questioned regarding the possible danger the black market posed to consumers.

Himes cited Norway, France, and Italy as examples, arguing that these countries' limitations had expanded the scale of the black market and resulted in higher rates of problem gambling than Britain. Himes also said that blocking such websites only made them reemerge in a different form.

The biggest thing the authorities could do, according to Dugher, was to "stop the traffic" to illegal marketplaces, which they might accomplish by refraining from requesting documentation from its clients. 

He added: "If you are being asked by the people you used to bet with for documents and you are not prepared, as most customers wouldn't be, to hand over personal, private financial information like that, you look for an alternative and the first thing you do is just do a Google search. It's how can you get round the system, and it pops up in seconds."

By the end of this month, the Gambling Commission is anticipated to start a consultation on the procedure for conducting financial risk checks.

Powered by Froala Editor

iGaming Industry
Horse Racing
Gambling Law
British Racing Industry

iGaming News • UK