‘Could end racing like a dead man’: Dire warnings of £100m impact on sport | horse racing news

Edward Whittaker

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Racing could be killed

Races could die ‘stone dead’ if worst case scenarios from game review

Edward Whittaker

By Bill Barber, Industry Editor

Financial modeling has estimated that strict action around affordability controls, advertising and sponsorship after the government’s gaming review could cost the British racing industry more than £100m a year, killing it “dead as a stone” in the words of a leading figure.

The possibility of intrusive affordability checks that ask customers for personal financial information such as bank statements and payment receipts continues to concern British racing leaders, and the issue was discussed again in Westminster this week ahead of the publication of the government white paper in May.

One MP said such checks should be introduced for losses as low as £100 a month. It is feared that if that were introduced, it would prompt people to cut back or stop betting on races altogether or be driven into the black market.

Previous estimates have put the cost of the harder line controls at more than £60m a year, but Arena Racing Company chief executive Martin Cruddace has said the figure could be as high as £100m based on a projection from that between 60 and 70 per cent of bettors would reject having to prove that they can afford losses in the game. A survey commissioned by the Betting and Gaming Council found that fewer than one in five punters would be willing to allow betting companies access to their bank accounts or payslips in order to place a bet.

The Chairman of the Horsemen’s Group and the Racehorse Owners Association, Charlie Parker, a member of British Racing’s Gambling Strategy Group, who has been grappling with the issue of reviewing the game, he said on Tuesday: “Industry estimates are that the total impact could exceed £100m if certain scenarios related to sponsorship advertising, affordability checks etc are introduced. That’s it: encumbrance, media rights and sponsorship, and that would obviously kill the thing.

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Charlie Parker: Renewed calls for racing industry to continue to push ahead of game overhaul

Charlie Parker: Renewed calls for racing industry to continue to push ahead of game overhaul

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

“I’m sure they don’t want that to happen, so we have to navigate the next few weeks and months to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

British racing leaders have been pushing MPs and ministers to point out the possible unintended consequences of much tighter regulation.

Parker added: “I think we’ve done pretty well in persuading them to see the reality of the situation, but what happens next, once the white paper is out, is really important – another round of lobbying and another round of evidence. and whatever else is needed. .”

However, Parker took pains to make it clear that racing was considering its own role in making gambling safer and reducing the potential for harm, saying: “Obviously betting issues are a problem and although we are on the same level as the Lottery in terms of betting issues, a lot of people bet on the races.

“There’s been work on that among the cross-industry group: what can racetracks do in betting rings, for example, with underage gambling, what can media rights companies do, and what can bookmakers do? of bets.

“There are pretty smart things out there and they can tell if someone is acting abnormal. There’s a technological angle to this rather than a blunt instrument. It’s against civil liberties anyway, telling people what you can and you can’t spend your money on. There are ways to do this that I think would be better than just ending the sport.”

Gambling minister Chris Philip reiterated his view that affordability controls should be “proportionate” while taking part in a House of Commons debate Monday night on gambling review.

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield told the House of Commons that affordability checks for those who lose more than £100 a month gambling “would make a huge difference”.

He added: “Some have questioned whether £100 a month is proportionate, but the Social Market Foundation’s research found that any affordability controls above that level would continue to allow large losses.”

Philp said the government “didn’t want to prevent people who want to play for pleasure from doing so or put unreasonable obstacles in the way”, but added: “We have to take action”.

As for affordability controls, he said they needed to be “proportionate and adjusted to the right level,” adding: “Data is available if operators use it properly and if the Gaming Commission has adequate access to it to deliver that result. That should be a very significant area of ​​attention in the review of the Gaming Law that is coming up very soon.”

Read more:

Chancellor Rishi Sunak raises racing industry concerns over game overhaul

“Change is needed and change is coming”: Gambling minister at a reform rally

Racing warned that the game overhaul poses a “clear and present danger” to the future of the sport.

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