The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), in participation with the media stakeholders of Racing TV, At The Races, and the Racing Post, has launched a survey to gather views from the betting public on affordability checks proposed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Initiating a combined survey, racing stakeholders seek to shed light on the diverse views of betting audiences on proposed affordability checks to form part of the Gambling Commission’s consultation currently taking responses due by 18 October.
The objective of the survey is to consolidate the opinions of the betting public in one place, anonymously, to help inform British racing’s collective response to the UKGC.
Racing stakeholders have expressed concern that the proposed affordability checks will alienate bettors from the sport – “as highlighted by the significant amount of correspondence received on this issue by the BHA, Racing TV, At The Races and Racing Post, with many punters already subject to betting restrictions by operators”.
Despite conflicts, the BHA stands by its shared goal to present the Gambling Commission with an objective view of the racing audiences’ opinions on affordability checks, expressed clearly and by providing quantifiable evidence.
Greg Swift, BHA Director of Corporate Affairs, detailed: “The BHA opposes blanket affordability checks, and we urge the Government and the Gambling Commission to reconsider their proposals.
“We are also aware of the significant concern among racing fans about current and future affordability checks and are keen to provide them with a clear opportunity to have their views heard within the context of British racing’s consultation response.”
The survey will be available to the public until 9 October. Taking five-to-10 minutes to complete, the survey mirrors questions similar to the Gambling Commission’s consultation, but in a more accessible format, with explanations provided for each proposal.
Racing stakeholders underlined the importance of establishing a ‘unified voice’ to express public anxieties on affordability checks, as evidence points towards racing audiences wagering safely on racing fixtures as a sports pastime.
Racing Post Editor, Tom Kerr, said: “We’ve had thousands of emails, letters and messages from readers expressing dismay and anger about the Gambling Commission’s proposals for affordability checks and expressing huge concern over what they will mean for their pastime and for racing.
“It is vital that the voice of punters is heard in this consultation, and this survey is an important part of ensuring that happens.”
Ongoing conflicts saw the UKGC publish an open letter to Racing Post readers last week in reply to ‘imbalanced stories’ published by the newspaper concerning financial risk checks.
Written by CEO Andrew Rhodes, the Commission accused the Racing Post of a “blatant lack of balance”, in which the regulator had been subjected to daily attacks on affordability checks without being provided a right of response.
Rhodes stood by the consultation’s assessment that only 3% of gamblers would be subject to financial risk assessments via credit reference agencies or open banking data.
The Commission reaffirmed the proposal that financial checks will be carried out via ‘soft credit checks’ that will not impact an individual’s credit score, in which only 0.3% of account holders will be required to provide detailed information related to their personal finances.
Yet the letter concluded that the Commission needed the opinion and feedback of British racing audiences to form part of its ongoing consultation.
Racecourse Media Group (RMG) Chief Executive, Martin Stevenson, stated: “It is vitally important we hear the attitudes of the consumers themselves in response to the affordability checks proposed by the Gambling Commission, and Racing TV is delighted to play its part in promoting such an important survey to our engaged audiences.”