Ending his 17-year tenure at Sky Betting & Gaming (Sky Bet), industry figurehead Richard Flint has called for betting and racing leaders to work in partnership, tackling an ‘existential threat’ facing all betting stakeholders.
Speaking to the Racing Post, Richard Flint the former Executive Chairman of Sky Bet, warned UK racing leaders not to be complacent in believing that their sport is immune to betting’s current regulatory predicaments.
In his warning, Flint acknowledges the growing profile of gambling industry sceptics, ‘that is way higher now’, stating that negative perspectives are becoming ‘influential among policymakers’.
“That’s why I think it’s a dangerous moment for the betting industry and by extension for the racing industry because there are more politicians with a very negative view of the industry than there are with a positive view,” Flint said.
With the UK government having enforced its FOBTs £2 wagering reduction last April, Flint warns that campaigners and politicians have turned their attention to scrutinising betting’s links with sports.
A stricter regulatory agenda could lead to a blanket ban on betting-sports advertising and sponsorship damaging racing indefinitely.
“If all advertising was banned that would take racing off the terrestrial TV, it would stop race sponsorships, it would do vast harm to racing’s finances,” Flint said.
Describing racing as a ‘critical friend’ of the betting, Flint calls for sector leaders to take heed of warnings, and work together in partnership.
Issuing a response, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) acknowledged Flint’s concerns, reaffirming that it would
continue to promote socially responsible betting as core mandate, as well as emphasising the importance of the sector to the sport to politicians.