Some of the most crucial training centres of the racing industry in Cotswolds, Lambourn, Newmarket, the Scottish Borders, and Yorkshire, are still making a valuable contribution as the industry-wide parliamentary petition that is seeking the authorities to put proposed affordability checks on hold gathered more than 70,000 signatures as of October 6th night.
The 12 parliamentary constituencies with the highest scoring, which have so far accounted for approximately 7.5% of the overall number of signatures, are all associated with high levels of employment in the breeding and racing sectors.
The industries mentioned above have been trying to talk the UK lawmakers and the country’s gambling regulatory body into reconsidering their position over the most recently proposed measures that are aimed at making British gambling laws fit for their purpose and protecting customers from gambling-related harm but, at the same time, threaten to cost the sport revenue worth about £250 million over the next five years.
The petition officially went live late on November 1st and is currently more than two-thirds of the way to reaching its 100,000-signature target which would be the qualifying point for the petition’s proposals on affordability checks to be taken into consideration for further debate as part of the parliamentary agenda. In the days since the petition was launched, many British trainers have supported some key racing sector stakeholders, who have been calling for backup from anyone who cares about the future financial health of the sport.
Parliamentary Petition Gathers More than 71,000 Signatures So Far
According to estimates provided by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), 85,000 people are either directly or indirectly employed in the UK racing sector. Currently, the National Association of Racing Staff (NARS) represents 7,600 people and the beginning of the week saw the trade union try to encourage its members to back the parliamentary petition, although the organisation’s chief executive officer George McGrath was clear that every individual should make the decision over whether to support the movement for themselves. He noted that the petition was important for the entire racing sector and every aspect of it, not just the staff working in the industry.
Still, Mr McGrath confirmed that the Association provided its regional coordinators with the opportunity to speak to its members but, still, it was an individual decision as to whether to sign the petition or not.
The National Association of Racing Staff’s boss supports the effort of the racing industry to persuade the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) to once again consider the subject and scope of so-called affordability checks. He recognises the damage that would be inflicted on the racing industry in case the proposed affordability checks were brought into action and said that he could hardly see any positive sides of it because the move did not truly address problem gambling and gambling-related harm.
Opponents of proposed affordability checks have been calling for both the racing industry and British punters to sign the petition calling on the UK Government to stop the implementation of the measure. A total of 71,257 signatures have been gathered by the petition at the time of writing. It is set to be considered for debate in Parliament should it gather 100,000 signatures.