Horse racing letter suggests £60m hit from betting reforms

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Horse racing letter suggests £60m hit from betting reforms

A letter addressed to MPs is reportedly circulating within the horse racing industry, which expresses concerns over the possibility of affordability checks in gambling.

The letter’s author is not known, but claims a rethink on betting reforms is necessary, suggesting the sport could face a £60m ($81m) hit if the proposed reforms go ahead.

The UK Government is currently reviewing the Gambling Act 2005, with the Gambling Commission recently extending the deadline for feedback until 9 February 2021, having experienced high engagement since consultation commenced in November 2020.

The letter reads: «I am reliably informed the proposals put forward by the Gambling Commission could result in more than £60m in direct losses to the British racing industry from reduced Horserace Betting Levy and media rights income. This would be amplified many times over through the wider rural economy and potentially lead to racecourses closing.

«The Gambling Commission’s proposed action would be disproportionate to the small number of people who suffer harm from betting on racing, as well as being a very significant invasion on personal liberty in the free society in which we live. At a time when racing and the British economy are trying to recover from COVID-19, a rushed intervention like this would also significantly set back recovery.

«Naturally, I have grave concerns about this and would welcome your support in calling for the Gambling Commission to rethink introducing this measure, ensure it is evidence-based and, at the very least, ensure that the decision-making process aligns with the government’s recently launched review of the Gambling Act.»

The letter also suggests the ‘skill-based’ betting in horse racing ought to be treated differently to that of online casino gambling, namely as it is less likely to lead to problem gambling.

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