100,000 signatures can spark parliament debate

UK horseracing industry launches online petition against affordability checks

Reading time 1:51 min

The British horseracing industry has launched a petition urging the UK government to suspend the planned implementation of what it deems as intrusive affordability checks.

The petition is against one of the main proposals in the Gambling White Paper, published in April by the UK government, which has outlined intentions to introduce two tiers of affordability checks

The first tier would be for those who lose as little as £125 in 30 days or £500 in a year to be subject to “frictionless” background checks using “publicly available data”. The second would result in more detailed scrutiny for bettors with net losses of £1000 within 24 hours or £2,000 in 90 days.

These checks would involve credit reference agencies in the first instance, with bookmakers also required to ask customers for personal documentation such as bank statements and proof of earnings.

The proposal was met with strong opposition from the industry. Racing experts have cautioned about the potentially "catastrophic" consequences these checks may have on horse racing, with over half of participants in a 14,000 survey stating they would disengage from the sport rather than disclose financial details. Independent estimates suggest a potential loss of up to £250 million ($309.2 million) in revenue over the next five years.

The horseracing industry launched its petition following a consultation on ‘Financial risk checks for bettors’ conducted by the Gambling Commission and concluded on October 18, 2023. Posted on November 1, on Change.org, the petition is listed as “Stop the implementation of betting affordability/financial risk check”.

While registered under the name of Nevin Truesdale, the CEO of the Jockey Club, the petition represents the broader British horseracing sector, which backers note supports more than 85,000 jobs and contributes £4.1 billion ($5 billion) to the UK economy each year. The petition has already garnered over 68,000 signatures, expressing concerns that such checks could drive punters toward illicit gambling markets.

If 10,000 people sign the petition, then the Government is obliged to issue a public response. If 100,000 sign it, there is the chance to secure a debate in the House of Commons.

We know that the likely result will either be people leaving the sport, some as owners as well as bettors, or much worse, switching to the unregulated black market. Both of these outcomes will have catastrophic consequences, not only for racing's financial ecosystem but for thousands of livelihoods which depend upon it and therefore for communities and families up and down the country,” Truesdale said.

"Whether you are a breeder, trainer, farrier, vet, jockey, or you work in a racing yard, at a racecourse in any capacity or in one of the countless other roles which help this sport contribute £4.1 billion to the UK economy each year, these affordability checks have the potential to threaten your livelihood."

Leave your comment
Subscribe to our newsletter
Enter your email to receive the latest news
By entering your email address, you agree to Yogonet's Condiciones de uso and Privacy Policies. You understand Yogonet may use your address to send updates and marketing emails. Use the Unsubscribe link in those emails to opt out at any time.