The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has warned Members of Parliament that proposed affordability checks for online gambling could have a devastating financial impact on the horse racing industry in the UK. The BHA has argued that such checks could lead to a significant reduction in the number of people betting on horse racing, which would in turn reduce the amount of money generated by the industry. This could have serious consequences for the thousands of people employed in the horse racing industry, as well as for the many businesses that rely on it for their livelihoods.
BHA warns MPs affordability checks could be financially devastating for British horse racing
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has warned MPs that proposed affordability checks could have a devastating financial impact on the sport. The checks, which are part of the government’s review of the gambling industry, would require bookmakers to assess whether customers can afford to place bets before accepting them.
The BHA has argued that the checks would be impractical and could lead to a significant reduction in betting turnover, which would have a knock-on effect on the racing industry. The BHA has estimated that the checks could result in a loss of up to £60m per year in betting revenue, which would have a significant impact on the sport’s finances.
The BHA has also argued that the checks would be difficult to implement, as bookmakers would need to collect detailed financial information from customers in order to assess their affordability. This would be time-consuming and could lead to delays in accepting bets, which would be frustrating for customers and could lead to a reduction in betting activity.
The BHA has suggested that alternative measures could be put in place to address problem gambling, such as increased funding for treatment and support services. The BHA has also called for a review of the current levy system, which is used to fund the racing industry, to ensure that it is fair and sustainable.
The BHA’s warnings have been echoed by other industry bodies, including the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) and the Racecourse Association (RCA). The HBLB has warned that the checks could lead to a reduction in the amount of money available for prize money and other racing-related expenses, while the RCA has argued that the checks could lead to a decline in attendance at racecourses.
The government’s review of the gambling industry is expected to be completed later this year, and it is unclear at this stage whether the affordability checks will be included in any new legislation. However, the BHA and other industry bodies are continuing to lobby MPs and government officials to ensure that the interests of the racing industry are taken into account.
In the meantime, the BHA has urged bookmakers to work with the industry to develop alternative measures to address problem gambling. The BHA has suggested that bookmakers could introduce voluntary affordability checks, which would allow customers to set their own limits on how much they can afford to bet.
The BHA has also called for greater transparency from bookmakers, particularly in relation to their use of data and algorithms to target customers with personalised offers and promotions. The BHA has argued that this type of marketing can be harmful to vulnerable customers and has called for stricter regulations to be put in place.
Overall, the BHA’s warnings about the potential impact of affordability checks on the racing industry are a timely reminder of the importance of balancing the interests of different stakeholders in the gambling industry. While it is important to address problem gambling, it is also crucial to ensure that the racing industry, which is a major contributor to the UK economy, is not unfairly impacted by new regulations. By working together, industry bodies and government officials can find a solution that works for everyone.