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Recent Racing TV surveys attracted strong responses from its members. More than 3500 people participated in the survey on the Gambling Act Review, and the shadowy black market.

Racing TV supports the Gambling Act Review’s objectives to protect those at risk of gambling harm. The key findings of this consumer survey, which is the first to evaluate the scale and affordability of the black market, were:

  • A majority of the 3,469 respondents stated that they don’t want to see bookmakers impose mandatory limits.
  • 15% of the 3,539 respondents indicated that they have placed or knew someone who has placed bets with an unregulated online casino.
  • 22% of the 3,575 respondents stated that they were asked for personal information.
  • This information was not provided by 50% of respondents (404 respondents).
  • 92% of the 3,237 respondents stated that they would be open to using another bookmaker if it didn’t require any personal information.

The Gambling Act Review has been focused on two key areas: affordability checks and loss limits. This White Paper will be the most notable.

According to media reports, a leaked draft from the White Paper contained fixed loss threshold thresholds. These thresholds are extremely contentious for the respondents to our survey. Nearly 80% said that they don’t want mandatory limits from bookmakers.

The most alarming finding was the 15% who answered the below question and said they had bet or know someone who has bet with an unregulated online bookmaker.

In the absence of clear directions from the Gambling Commission and while the wait continues for the publication the White Paper, many bookmakers have implemented affordability checks. Some of these, such as requests to pay payslips or bank statements, may be considered intrusive.

Over 22% of the 3,575 people who answered the question below indicated that they were asked for such documents.

Only half of those asked to provide such documents refused.

Additionally, 92% of the 3,237 people who answered the above question indicated that they would be open to using a bookmaker without documentation.

Martin Stevenson, Racecourse Media Group’s CEO, stated that Racing TV’s parent company Racecourse Media Group has received a large response to its survey: “The ongoing Gambling Act review, along with their recent experiences, shows how much our members are affected.”

Our survey found that 15% of respondents have bet or know someone who has bet with an unregulated bookmaker. This is a serious concern. This survey shows that there are hundreds of thousands of black-market punters, despite millions of customers betting on horse racing.

“This survey shows that there is a black market and that affordability checks have the effect of driving a large number of affected punters outside of the UK-regulated environment, exposing them to possible harm. This is a victory that’s hardly worthy of the affordability checks.

“We shared this information with Gambling Commission and hope they can consider it in their assessment of black market. It is evident that it exists, and that it is only growing.”

Stevenson continued: “Nearly 25% (22%) answered yes to the question about whether they were asked for their personal information. Half of them refused to comply.” This is an astonishingly high percentage that shows consumers’ rejection of intrusions on their leisure activities.

“It is difficult to believe that 22% of racing punters are at danger of harm. This seems excessive in light of the general prevalence of problem gambling.

“RMG also saw a significant decline in online horseracing betting turnover in 2022. According to the Racing Post, the sport could lose as much as PS40m in funding each year. All those involved in the industry need to be concerned. The sport is facing a serious financial crisis because of affordability checks.

Paul Scully, the former Minister responsible for Horseracing and Gambling, stated recently that the Government was approaching affordability checks. He said: “It’s not the responsibility of the government, and it’s not the job of the Gambling Commission to tell people how much they’re ‘allowed’ to spend on gambling.

Stevenson said, “I hope the new Minister responsible for Horseracing and Gambling will consider the results of the survey as part the ongoing work to review the Gambling Act.” In this process, it has been long overdue to take into account the opinions of consumers regarding how they spend their money. In his recent speech, the former Minister acknowledged that fact.

“Applying universal limits doesn’t recognize the many natural betting behaviors, events, seasonality, or different financial circumstances. The Jumps season’s highlight is undoubtedly the Cheltenham Festival, which is a major focus for punters. It was a pleasant surprise to hear the former Minister state that there was no ‘one-size fits all’ approach.

“I would like to thank all of our members who participated in the survey.”

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