A UK Member of Parliament (MP) has warned that the controversial plans of the Government to overhaul the country’s gambling regulations could result in less money to support further development in equine welfare and veterinary science. The claims emerged at a time when ministers were urged to reconsider the proposed introduction of so-called affordability checks on British punters.
According to the measure’s critics, proceeding further with the proposed affordability checks is likely to have a devastating effect on the country’s horse racing sector.
During a Westminster Hall debate that took place on October 25th, lawmakers signalled that the proportion of money that is redirected to horse racing from the local betting levy in the form of funding is already among the lowest ones featured by all major racing nations.
Apart from that, Laura Farris, a Member of Parliament from the Conservative Party, highlighted some estimates provided by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) – the sport’s national governing body – that implementation of stricter requirements on betting on horse races in the UK could see the aforementioned funds reduced by a further 11%. Ms Farris reminded that the money in question was normally redirected to activities such as veterinary science and education, as well as animal welfare, which were extremely important for the British horse racing industry to further develop and thrive.
The MP believes there was a major misconception about the sport based on a lack of welfare understanding in the country.
Critics of the Proposed Measure Fear That the British Equine Sector Would Be Seriously Affected
Other members of the Conservative Party also echoed Ms Farris’ concerns associated with the financial stability of the sport. Neil Hudson highlighted the ongoing workforce challenges in terms of the veterinary sector and called for local lawmakers to accept the recommendation of the Migration Advisory Committee, according to which the equine sector is set to be added to the shortage occupations list of the UK Government. He, however, welcomed some recently announced reforms brought to the Grand National, saying the move was an example of the type of action that was needed to maintain the wider social licence of horse racing in the nation.
According to Dr Hudson, if lawmakers made sure both the people and the horses were taken care of, and there had been pragmatic and sensible financing, with some of the financial risk associated with it being put back into supporting those horses and people, the future of horse racing in the UK would be bright.
The supporters of the affordability checks and the rest of the new rules believe that the implementation of the new measure would be easy. They further noted that the new move was intended to help tackle some issues associated with problem gambling and gambling-related harm. However, the affordability checks’ critics have shared some concerns that large numbers of punters will either fully stop betting on horse races or will prefer to start betting with black market operators.
As explained by the country’s Gambling Minister, Stuart Andrew, these concerns were being taken seriously by local lawmakers who would do anything possible to avoid any turmoil in the sector.