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.
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.”
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.”