BHA Claims Black Market Could Have “Significant Financial Implications” on Horse Betting

  • BHA said the Gambling Commission is “underestimating” the black market threat
  • The Gambling Commission states the black market is “very small” in the UK
  • 73% of bettors said they would use unlicensed platforms to continue betting
Horse race in the UK
The British Horseracing Authority has expressed concerns about the potential impact of the black market on betting. [Image:]

BHA: black market threat is underestimated

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has criticized the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) claims that the threat of the black market on the industry is “overstated.”

According to the BHA, each time £10m ($12.5m) of British horse racing revenue from gambling goes to the black market, horse racing misses out on £1m ($1.25m) in levy funding and another £1.5m ($2m) in media rights.

the Gambling Commission continues to underestimate the threat of the black market”

The BHA said that far from being overstated, “the Gambling Commission continues to underestimate the threat of the black market” and that it could have “significant financial implications.” It went on to note that it’s concerned about how this will impact consumer protection and the integrity of the sport.

UKGC: black market is “very small”

On Tuesday, Andrew Rhodes, chief executive of the Gambling Commission, was speaking in front of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (DCMS) where he made his comments about the size of the black market in the UK.

growing black market

The DCMS highlighted in the much-anticipated gambling white paper that there was a growing black market and that it was becoming easy for bettors to place bets on it.

However, while Rhodes acknowledged that it was important to get the right balance to stop customers from using the black market, he added that the size of it in the UK is “very small, but estimates do vary.”

Bettors happy to use the black market

Released in April, the white paper detailed, among other points, affordability checks. On Wednesday, the Horseracing Bettors Forum showed data to Rhodes, highlighting that 73% of 296 respondents would consider using the black market if they were required to hand over more private information to bookmakers in order to continue betting.

Sports minister Stuart Andrew told the select committee that affordability checks wouldn’t cause any financial harm to the horseracing betting industry. The BHA, though, believes this won’t be the case because of the “unique relationship between British racing and betting,” adding that if affordability checks are conducted on players, the process should be as “frictionless as possible.”

Affordability checks are background checks on players if their net loss hits £125 ($156) per month or £500 ($622) per year. More detailed affordability checks will take place at loss thresholds of £1,000 ($1,245) within 24 hours or £2,000 ($2,490) within a 90-day period. These amounts will be cut in half for those under age 25.

In January, the UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) stated that the potential for stricter affordability checks could lead to more people turning to black market platforms. It was reported that 250,000 people accessed unlicensed gambling sites in December 2020.

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