Racing industry leaders in the UK have warned the Government that proposed affordability checks are likely to cost the sector £250 million over the upcoming five years.
In a letter supported by major organisations operating in the racing industry, Martin Cruddace, the chief executive officer of Arena Racing Company, has urged the country’s Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer to put the formal introduction of proposed affordability measures on hold, saying that otherwise, the sector will suffer. The most significant intervention on the matter by British racing comes with the Gambling Commission’s consultation into proposals that would launch affordability checks in the country. The consultation is set to close on October 18th.
British sports betting operators have already introduced their own affordability checks while waiting for the Government to release its White Paper on gambling, which finally happened in April. In the White Paper, the Government set out its plans to reform the country’s gambling industry and bring changes to make the UK gambling laws fit for their purpose to regulate the sector.
Mr Cruddace claimed that the existing checks had already resulted in losses amounting to more than £1 billion of online betting revenue since 2021. The loss was responsible for a reduction in the number of racehorses in training in comparison to the ones that took place in 2020.
”Financial Risk Checks” Aim to Protect Vulnerable Customers from Gambling-Related Harm
As previously reported by Casino Guardian, the proposed affordability checks set out in the consultation will require British bookmakers to carry out the now-called “financial risk checks” on their customers who lose as little as £125 in 30 days, or £500 on an annual basis. On the other hand, enhanced checks will be carried out for customers who lose £1,000 in 24 hours, or £2,000 in 90 days.
In his letter, the CEO of Arena Racing Company has revealed that Regulus Partners, a popular industry analyst firm, has calculated that the new measures will cost the British racing industry approximately £250 million over five years plus the ones that already exist.
According to Mr Cruddace, the racing sector has a business model that is mostly based on close and harmonious links with the betting sector. He added that, according to industry analysts, the British racing industry will suffer a heavy blow as a result of the proposed affordability checks. He noted that the expected £250-million damage to the sector, which currently employs approximately 88,000 people, was extremely concerning.
The British racing industry has warned that the actual percentage of current active accounts that would be impacted by enhanced affordability checks, would be considerably higher. Mr Cruddace has also warned that the measures will not have any perceptible effect on preventing gambling-related harm, and noted that the measures that had already been imposed had had no material impact on the nine existing indices to measure gambling-related harm.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.