Last week, MP for Windsor, Adam Afriyie, spoke to the Racing Post, a major national sports publication providing award-winning editorial coverage of the horseracing industry, to discuss the Gambling Commission’s plans to introduce mandatory affordability checks for those gambling online.
In the article by Peter Scargill, the Post’s Deputy Industry Editor, Adam warned of the hugely detrimental effects that the proposed affordability checks would have upon British Horseracing, a vital sector of the economy generating £4.1 billion and supporting 80,000 jobs, as well as an invaluable national pastime enjoyed by millions up and down the country. By introducing extremely wide-ranging affordability checks affecting the vast majority of safe, responsible gamblers, the damage done to the betting and gaming industry as players are pushed into the dangerous black market would reverberate directly upon horseracing, the two sectors being closely related and interdependent.
With the iconic Ascot and Windsor racecourses within the constituency, Adam observed that; as a result of these proposals, there is a real risk of significant job losses in the industry, and iconic national events being forced abroad if alternative markets become more lucrative.
The coverage by the Racing Post comes amidst a recently launched industry-wide campaign, calling on fans and those involved in horseracing to write to their MPs to highlight the critical dangers of affordability checks to the future of the industry, and to attend an upcoming Westminster Hall Debate on the issue on 26th February. Adam remarked that he looked forward to attending this debate to raise these concerns with Ministers, and encouraged parliamentary colleagues from all parties to do likewise.
Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor, commented in the Racing Post:
“Any proposals that force people to disclose personal financial information before placing a bet on the horses is destined to destroy the industry, along with tens of thousands of jobs. I, like most people, certainly wouldn't have a flutter at Ascot or the Monday night races in Windsor with these kind of intrusive checks in place.
There are a very small number of people with a serious addiction to gambling, which often goes hand in hand with other self-destructive behavioural problems. We must target help at these people, not penalise everyone else.
People aren't checked when they buy National Lottery tickets or scratch cards, and I suspect there are far more people getting into financial difficulty this way, and using black market sites online, than through horseracing.
The proposals, if implemented, would utterly ruin a wonderful pastime in the Windsor constituency. They would put hundreds of people out of work, hand over our world-leading events to overseas companies, and drive UK bets to the black market, where people will have no protection whatsoever.
I'm keen to participate in this debate to flag to ministers the threat that these completely unnecessary checks would pose to our healthy horseracing sector, and I would encourage others to do likewise.”
Read the full article here
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