A template letter to Members of Parliament that has been distributed within the sports sector highlights the chance of a £60-million hit that could be inflicted to the horse racing industry in the UK. Reportedly, the letter contains some complaints associated with the potential impact that affordability checks on local gamblers and the calls on British lawmakers to impose further restrictions on the sector.
As The Guardian has reported, the author of the letter remains unknown, but it was obviously drafted after the most powerful sports betting operators agreed that they needed to oppose the proposed measures.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has been having consultations on possible changes to its regulations in the sector. The major gambling regulatory body in the country has extended the deadline for receiving feedback associated with the consultations until February 9th after interested parties have been highly engaged since the beginning of the consultation in November 2020.
Furthermore, the watchdog of the gambling industry has already indicated some likely parameters for an affordability check to be triggered on a certain gambler. The UKGC said that a £100 monthly loss is likely to be the lowest possible threshold for such a check, while a £2,000 monthly loss would be unrealistically big.
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As revealed by The Guardian, the template letter warns that the proposals that the UKGC had made could result in over £60 million in direct losses generated in the UK racing sector because of lower media rights income and reduced horserace betting levy. According to the letter’s author, the proposed regulatory action would be disproportionate considering the small number of people who are considered to be addicted to betting on racing events. Apart from that, such an action would be a significant invasion of personal liberty.
The letter suggests that betting on racing events is a skill-based activity and is less likely to trigger problem gambling behaviour, which is why it should get different treatment from the casino-style forms of gambling that are already offered online. Furthermore, the author of the letter claims that the fixture list and calendar of racing events in the UK has been made in a way to ensure that local customers access a fair, safe and transparent betting product.
For now, there the author of the letter has not provided an explanation on how they got to the suggested figure of £60 million. It is probably based on the assumption of the abovementioned £100 threshold for affordability checks.
The 59 racecourses in the UK are expected to be among the interested parties that could forward the letter to their Members of Parliament. The UKGC, however, still believes that some action is needed, especially considering the failures of some online gambling operators that were not setting any limits for their customers to bet at suitable levels. The gambling regulator also believes that some online betting companies are not taking the necessary appropriate action to identify risks of gambling-related harm.
The Gambling Commission has once again reminded that gambling companies are required to take further action and confirmed that it is set to take the necessary action to ensure observation of consistent standards and prevent gambling-related harm.