Horse Racing

Gosden fears the effect of the affordability test on bettors


Multi-championship coach John Gosden warned British horse racing on January 25 that imposing intrusive affordability and capital checks on bettors combined with the appeal of The black market can be disastrous for the sport.

Gosden is the latest high-profile figure in the race to express serious fear over the controversial issue, which is estimated to cost the sport tens of millions of pounds in revenue.

A 2019 estimate calculated race income from betting through tax and media rights as £262m per year. That income, however, is being impacted by the introduction of bookmakers’ affordability checks, which include requests for personal financial information such as bank statements and P60. In response, many punters are giving up betting or are being pushed to the black market.

Arena Racing Company chief executive Martin Cruddace has estimated that affordability checks were the main cause of a £280 million drop in digital betting revenue at the company’s 16 courses last year compared to the last year. for 2019, which he claims will equate to £800m across the sport as a whole. all and a £40m hit to the race’s finances.

The scrutiny has come as regulators come under increasing pressure from the Gambling Commission ahead of the release of the government’s long-delayed gambling review white paper.

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Now approaching his third season as joint coach with his son Thady, five-time champion Gosden is deeply concerned about the long-term consequences for the race.

He said: “It’s a very clear rule of undesirable consequences. These affordability tests will certainly harm the race.

“Obviously it’s an invasion of privacy from the start even if it’s well-intentioned and it certainly forces a lot of gambling to take place on the black market, which is a very dangerous place.”

This week, the Racing Post reported that Bernard Cullinane, the blood agent behind Princess Zoe and claiming to be a serious bettor, was taken to the black market bookmakers — along with dozens of players. other big bets in his circle — by checking affordability and source of funds. .

Gosden added: “There is no doubt that those who go in the direction of the black market to place their bets will spell disaster for both the UK betting and horse racing industry.”

John Gosden surveying the scene after Logician won the St Leger . prize<br /> Doncaster 14.9.19″ src=”https://cms-images.bloodhorse.com/i/bloodhorse-images/2019/09/fd14dea23b1143a48039322b73576b67.jpg?preset=medium” style=”border-width: 0px;” title= “John Gosden surveys the scene after Logician wins the St Leger<br /> Doncaster 14.9.19″/><figcaption><small>Photo: Edward Whitaker/Racing Post</small></p>
<p>John Gosden at Doncaster</p>
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<p>Those comments come as the industry body, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) revealed research it has commissioned showing the number of UK punters visiting black market gambling sites. Unregulated online streaming tripled during the World Cup in Qatar last year.</p>
<p>The study also found that traffic to black market sites was highest in March during Cheltenham and June during Royal Ascot, which the BGC states that horse racing is a target of companies. Unregulated gambling company.</p>
<p>The analysis, carried out by the US-based research group Yield Sec, found that in December alone 250,000 people visited black market sites compared with around 80,000 in the same month a year ago, with a level similar increase in November. Online traffic to websites promoting services to gamblers who have excluded themselves from UK operators has increased by almost 83%.</p>
<p>All betting operators licensed by the UK Gambling Commission are required to sign up for the Gamstop online self-exclusion system.</p>
<p>However, the Yield Sec report says: “Non-Gamstop sites generated 82.68% more visits from 26.88% more unique customers between November and December 2022 compared to with the previous two-month period, spend an average of 78% more time on site.”</p>
<p>The BGC says more than 64,500 players who searched black market sites offering betting services surpassed GamStop in that two-month period alone.</p>
<p>Ismail Vali, founder and chief executive officer of Yield Sec, said: “The increasing trend of illegal gambling activity during prominent sporting events reflects the ever-present threat that operators face. illegal exploitation caused to players and spectators.”</p>
<p>Overall, visits to black market sites from the UK have grown by 46 per cent in 2022, with around 148,000 customers visiting those sites each month.</p>
<p>The study follows an earlier report by PricewaterhouseCoopers commissioned by the BGC, which stated that the number of customers using unlicensed websites more than doubled to 460,000 in 2020, with the amount going up to billions of dollars.</p>
<p>BGC CEO Michael Dugher said the study exposed “the grave threat the unregulated, unsafe black market poses to punters.”</p>
<p><figure class=Michael Dugher
Photo: Betting & Games Council

Michael Dugher

He added: “While the regulated industry will do its best to protect young people during the World Cup and adhere to strict regulations and promote safer gambling, black market operators are hunting the vulnerable.

“These unlicensed sites don’t offer any safe gambling tools promoted by our members, they pay no taxes and employ no one, they don’t contribute a dime to the community.” sports or services that address the harms of gambling and they do nothing to protect vulnerable players.”

Dugher said there was “too much complacency” about the threat of the black market. He added: “Instead of ignoring the problem, regulators and governments need to exercise extreme care and resist low-level, excessively intrusive affordability checks that push many more bettors to these dangerous locations.”

Responding to the research, a spokesperson for the Gambling Commission said it would carefully review the report commissioned by the Betting and Gaming Council. The spokesperson added: “However, we want to make it clear that just because the black market exists, we are not going to downsize or stop some of the interventions we think we need to implement. present in a regulated market for consumer protection.”

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