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Spotlight Sports Group (SSG), an international technology, content, and media company, announced the results from a major betting survey by the Racing Post. This is the undisputed home for horseracing content.

More than 10400 people in Ireland and the United Kingdom responded to The Big Punting Survey. This survey, which is thought to be the largest ever conducted by sports bettors, revealed detailed views on the current state and betting activity, as well as affordability checks.

The survey found that 17% of UK-based respondents were asked to complete an affordability check. This involves asking bettors to give bookmakers bank statements and payslips. 55% refused to provide financial documentation. Even those who provided documents, less than 50% (38%) were given what they considered a satisfactory deposit limit.

Tom Kerr, Racing Post Editor and Group Racing director, said that the survey results were shocking evidence of how affordability checks have already affected a broad range of racing bettors. He also stated that few people are willing to give the financial documents required by bookmakers. Although some punters are reluctant to engage in the checks, less that one-two percent of them are satisfied with the results.

Nearly all participants (97%) agreed that it is the participant, not the government, regulator or bookmaker who can determine how much gambling can be afforded. 12% said they would do a affordability check for those who weren’t asked yet.

Nearly 4% of participants answered a question about black market bookmakers. Another 11% said they know of someone who has.

Tom Kerr said: “If we extrapolate these results to the wider racing audience it creates an alarming picture for the sport as well as the regulated betting markets in Britain. It is clear that bettors are turning more and more to the black market. There, onerous affordability checks are just as ineffective as any other form of player protection. These findings suggest that hundreds of millions of dollars in betting turnover and tens of thousands bettors have already moved to unregulated, untaxed offshore bookmakers.

“Hundreds of thousands of racing enthusiasts will increase their betting budgets for a week of thrilling action at the home jumps racing next month at Cheltenham Festival. However, increased betting activity will almost certainly lead to many bettors being subjected at least partially to affordability checks. Our polling suggests that very few of them will comply.

“As such it is likely that the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, however, will be an unprecedented bonanza to black market operators. It will also be a black week in racing, which is experiencing its revenue streams drying up as customers stop betting.

“Betting operators are forced to continue to charge their customers for these extremely unpopular affordability checks under current Gambling Commission guidelines. Before we drive more customers to black market operators and do catastrophic damage to horse racing, it’s crucial that the government provides common sense clarity about what is and is not expected of bookmakers.

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