UK gambling minister: only “3 per cent of accounts” will face detailed financial risk checks

Stuart Andrew took on the UK gambling brief in February.
Stuart Andrew took on the UK gambling brief in February.

Stuart Andrew has sought to reassure racing fans.

UK.- Britain’s gambling minister Stuart Andrew, who is also responsible for charity policy, has praised a gambling industry charity initiative and sought to offer reassurance on gambling reforms. In an article in the Racing Post, he aims to reassure bookies and bettors of the government’s plans for the industry.

He wrote: “Since we published our gambling white paper in April, I’ve heard concerns across the racing industry, often covered by the Racing Post, about the impact our new regulations may have on punters and the sport’s revenues. The government and the Gambling Commission will launch formal consultations over the coming weeks and months looking at the plans in more depth ahead of our main measures – including the gambling operator levy and online slot stake limits – coming into force over the next year.

“We want to support horseracing to succeed, but we need to ensure the measures designed to shield vulnerable gamblers are right. It is therefore vital we go through these crucial consultation periods.”

Financial risk checks

Andrew particularly addressed concerns about financial risk checks. He wrote: “We understand most people gamble without issue and problem gambling rates remain low, so I want to reassure Racing Post readers these measures will not impact those people, or anyone who put a few quid on the horses at Ascot over the past few days.

“The checks will only look at whether the highest-spending customers’ losses are a sign their gambling is out of control. Eighty per cent of people will never be impacted by even the lowest level of check. Only about three per cent of the highest spending accounts will have more detailed checks.”

Horseracing betting levy

Andrew also said the government had begun its review of the horserace betting levy, which the racing industry has been calling for since 2018.

He said: “We want racing to be appropriately funded and we will look at the evidence from betting and racing. We will focus on what has changed since 2017 when we last reviewed the levy. That review brought online operators within scope and doubled the amount returned to racing over the subsequent year.

“I said back in April the white paper’s impact on the sport would be minimal. I stand by this. I continue to meet regularly with representatives of the betting and racing industries and will continue to listen to them to make absolutely sure we get an outcome which will support racing for many years to come.”

BGC charity donation

Bookmakers will donate a combined £277,000 to charity following the Britannia Stakes race at Royal Ascot this past weekend. Members of the Betting and Gaming Council, Flutter, bet365, Entain, 888 William Hill, Kindred Betway, Rank Group’s Grosvenor Sport, Virgin Bet, LivescoreBet, Tote, Fitzdares and Bet with Ascot took part in the initiative.

The bookmakers had pledged all profits from the race, however the victory of Hayley Turner on Docklands on Thursday made the event a loss maker for bookies. The firms honoured a pledge to make a donation anyway.

The funds will be split between SportsAid, whose Patron is Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, the Holocaust Educational Trust, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, SAS Regimental Association (SASRA), Ascot Racecourse Supports and Together for Looked After Children.

It’s the fourth year that BGC members have donated profits from the flagship race to charities. The BGC says its members have raised £5.9m for charity through the Britannia Stakes and the virtual Grand National since the body was formed in November 2019.

Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “It’s great news that BGC members have once again made such a huge donation to a range of good causes. I am sure that the money we raised will once again make a massive difference to the incredible work done by all the charities involved.

“I am delighted that BGC members have now raised close to £6 million for charities up and down the country. I’d like to thank all the BGC members who took part – as well as their customers who enjoyed a flutter on the race – and I’d like to thank Ascot for their continued support.”

Alastair Warwick, chief executive at Ascot Racecourse, said: “We are hugely grateful for the support of the BGC and its members again this year with the Britannia Stakes initiative. Although not a profitable winner, with Hayley Turner winning the race it was still a hugely positive story for racing and the donation agreed by bookmakers will go a long way to supporting these charitable causes, including our own Ascot Racecourse Supports programme.”

“We are very grateful for this substantial donation”, said Tim Lawler MBE, chief executive of SportsAid. “And we are very proud to have been involved with such an exciting initiative as part of the prestigious and quintessentially British Royal Ascot meeting.

“SportsAid’s mission is to encourage, enable and empower the next generation of the nation’s sporting talent and this donation will help us to deliver on that. I’d like to offer a huge thank you to the Betting and Gaming Council and its members from everyone at SportsAid.”

John Allcock, secretary of the SAS Regimental Association (SASRA), said: “The SAS Regimental Association has been humbled to be included as a recipient of this years’ Britannia Stakes charity race. We would like to congratulate Hayley and Docklands on their victory. Who Dares Wins!

“The generosity of the horse racing fraternity is very much appreciated and we would like to thank the BGC for their support and guidance. The amazing donation will be put to good use looking after our members and their families who have and continue to keep us all safe.”

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “This donation will make a meaningful difference to the work of the Holocaust Educational Trust and we are hugely grateful for this support.

“Thanks to the generosity of members of the BGC, we will continue to work across the UK to ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten. We are grateful to the BGC for their support for this vital cause, which will help to protect the legacy of the past for generations to come.”

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