UK On-Track Horse Racing Bookmakers Concerned About White Paper

  • New affordability checks will kick in when bettors hit certain loss thresholds
  • This might extend to on-track bookmakers in the future, prompting criticism
  • The racing bookmaking industry believes it would damage trade and the sport
UK horseracing bookmakers
On-track horse racing bookmakers in the UK have concerns about the government’s white paper proposals. [Image:]

Bookmakers who serve customers at UK horse racing tracks have significant concerns about the government’s white paper on gambling legislation reform. The government finally published the white paper last week after numerous delays.

One of the major changes includes background checks on bettors to determine whether they can afford to lose certain amounts. Initially, online operators will have to conduct affordability checks if someone has a £125 ($156) net loss in a month or £500 ($624) in a single year. Meanwhile, gamblers who lose £1,000 ($1,248) across a 24-hour period or £3,000 ($3,745) in a 90-day period will go through more enhanced checks.

on-track bookmakers would need to carry out in-person affordability checks

While this requirement will initially only come into place for online, the white paper did note that it might extend to “land-based settings” in the future. This could mean that on-track bookmakers would need to carry out in-person affordability checks. The industry believes such a move would significantly damage their trade and horse racing as a whole.

As reported by the Racing Post, the bookmakers think that keeping track of people’s betting at the race courses would prove difficult. Andy Geraghty, one of the on-site bookmakers cited by the Post, argued that the checks might also put off people from attending race days.

On the other hand, one on-track sportsbook operator acknowledged that he had noticed a recent increase in cash betting at tracks. Commenting on the potential benefit of the new online rules, Glyn Jones said: “These checks will probably help us because anyone who wants to have a bet might have to come on-course now.”

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