Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has raised direct concerns with the DCMS about further ‘enhanced affordability checks’ being imposed on bookmakers.
Reported by the Racing Post, local racing delegates of Sunak’s Richmond North Yorkshire constituency wrote to the Chancellor opposing a consultation proposal being reviewed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Forming part of the government’s ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act, a consultation has been carried to examine further potential measures on remote gambling customer protections and player affordability checks.
Amongst the measures is a proposal to introduce a ‘safety threshold’ of a maximum £100 loss on customers prior to providing evidence that they can afford to wager.
Racing leadership believes that imposing a ‘blanket measure’ such as the £100 safety threshold will impact the sport’s revenues by a further £60 million.
Sunak is reported to have contacted DCMS Secretary Oliver Dowden directly with regards to the radical measures.
Leading the exchequer, Sunak is reported to be in ongoing discussions with diverse UK business leaders, as he prepares to deliver the UK’s Spring Budget on 3 March – showcasing new support schemes for pandemic impacted businesses.
Meanwhile, during an ‘introductory meeting’ as the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) new CEO, Julie Harrington raised the issue with UKGC boss Neil McArthur.
Harrington warned that racing could not afford to jump any more revenue hurdles, as the sport had been setback by a year of Covid restrictions, forcing it to accommodate for a £250 million revenue hit from closed racecourses.
Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), reiterated his support for balanced and evidence-led measures.
He tweeted: “I support enhanced affordability checks on betting, but these should be targeted towards at-risk groups – not the millions of people who bet perfectly safely. If checks are unnecessarily onerous, punters will go to the unsafe, unregulated black market.”
Media speculation grows as to how DCMS and the government will conduct its generational review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
This week, the Daily Telegraph reported that PM Boris Johnson would support the banning of gambling shirt sponsorships across football, as a measure that carried cross-party support.