I wanted to share a few important updates on the email I sent a few weeks back about proposed new ‘affordability’ checks on UK based bettors.
If you missed that article, you can read it on the SBC Blog – something I urge those of you based in the UK who bet regularly to do as the implications are massive.
1. Shorter Gambling Commission Consultation – 9th Feb Deadline
The first thing to mention is that following my initial email on this topic, the UK Gambling Commission have released a significantly simplified consultation you can fill in – available via this link.
This consultation is not only shorter but more to the point without the jargon and should take no more than 15 minutes to fill in.
Time is ticking on this though and you have until the 9th Feb to submit your feedback so don’t delay!
2. Horseracing Bettors Forum Submission
For those of you looking for some further inspiration on talking points to consider as part of your submission, Colin Hord, chair of the Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF) shared with me a summary of the key points they had put forward.
I have copied them below as they get to the heart of the issue and why in their opinion, affordability limits are not necessary.
In summary the HBF believe that affordability checks should not be introduced. The main reasons being as follows:
- The Government has announced a review of the Gambling Act 2005 in which it wants to assess affordability checks: HBF believes that introduction of such checks is a matter for Parliamentary debate and ultimate decision by the Government.
- Any checks will be easily avoided by using different online bookmakers, using proxy accounts set up by friends and family, betting on the high street or the racecourse in anonymity and potentially moving bettors to illegal bookmakers online and/or unregulated overseas operators, resulting in a loss of tax and levy income.
- HBF believe that there needs to be a demarcation between betting on horseracing (and other sports) and online casino gaming, i.e. games of chance (roulette, slots, virtual racing etc.). The odds for a horse or sports event vary and depend on the opinion of the bookmaker’s odds compiler, whereas casino gaming is fixed odds betting in which the house has a built-in advantage. The horseracing bettor operates under a different risk framework to the gaming customer who is focused on the quick adrenaline buzz of the spin of a slot or the turn of the roulette wheel.
- For many people, betting on horseracing is an enjoyable pastime, because, with time and effort, the player can develop skill that enables them to take a profit or at least lose an easily affordable amount. Horseracing betting for many is a cerebral activity that is challenging and enjoyable with an aspirational element of deriving a profit. A loss of betting revenue will have significant impact on UK horseracing.
- The proposed limits are extremely low and would likely include small stakes players who encounter a losing run. Even those betting £5 stakes would have a 20% chance of losing £100 in a month if betting horses to win at 6/1. Betting Exchange and Spread Betting customers could also fall into affordability checks if they have liabilities of greater than £100 per month and have to deposit additional funds even though they may not have lost. Similarly, the ante-post bettor may be creating an ante post portfolio for an event that does not take place that month.
- We also believe that there should be a reduction in cross fertilisation of casino games with those who bet on sports and horseracing and that steps should be taken to make players more aware of the house edge in casino games.
- HBF believe that Operators should be putting the welfare of their customers at the centre of their businesses just like an airline puts safety at the heart of their business. Safer gambling tools that have recently been required should be evaluated before affordability checks are imposed. The operators should create tools and procedures that can identify those that have, or are likely to have, gambling problems. After all, the Operators can easily spot those bettors who show skill!
3. SBC Podcast On This Topic
Finally, to explain more on this subject, in the latest episode of the SBC podcast, I spoke with Brian Chappell from the Justice For Punters website on this consultation and its potential impact on UK based bettors moving forward.
Brian has been at the forefront of many discussions with several stakeholders within the betting industry and so is ideally placed to shine light on the issues at hand and how important it is for as many UK bettors to take part in the consultation.
As part of the podcast we also explore whether staking and affordability limits will be introduced as part of a solution to tackling those with a gambling disorder and why the UK bookmaking industry is in such a mess due to its structure of restricting winners and encouraging losers.
You can listen and download this episode via the links below OR simply search ‘Smart Betting Club’ wherever you get your podcasts
That’s all for today,
Smart Betting Club Editor