UK MP warns that gambling affordability checks could harm equine welfare

The horseracing sector is concerned that the proposed checks would reduce funding.
The horseracing sector is concerned that the proposed checks would reduce funding.

Laura Farris is the latest politician to question the proposal checks for online gambling.

UK.- The Conservative MP Laura Farris has added her voice to concerns about the potential impact of the Gambling Commission’s proposed financial risk checks for online gambling. She fears the move could harm investment in advances in equine welfare and veterinary science.

A debate on the matter was held in Westminster last week. It was said that the proportion of money that goes to horseracing from the betting levy was among the lowest in countries that have a major horseracing sector. Farris noted that the governing body, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), has estimated that the introduction of financial risk checks, or affordability checks, could reduce funding by 11 per cent.

She said: “That is money that would go directly to activities such as animal welfare, veterinary science and education – things that are crucial to helping the industry to develop and thrive.”

Farris praised the work of the Valley Equine Hospital in her Newbury constituency of Newbury in Berkshire. She said that there was a misconception about horseracing that revolved around a was a lack of understanding of equine welfare.

The veterinary surgeon and Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border Neil Hudson echoed her concerns. He noted that the veterinary sector was facing workforce challenges and called for the government to accept the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendation to add some roles in the equine sector to the government’s list of occupations with shortages.

He said: “If we look after the people and the horses, and have sensible and pragmatic financing, and put some of that financing back into supporting those people and horses, the future of racing will be bright.”

The Labour Party peer David Lipsey, who is chairman of Premier Greyhound Racing, has also criticised the proposed financial risk checks for online gambling. He fears they could have a detrimental effect on the greyhound sector because they could cause high-spending customers to “disappear”.

The government and the Gambling Commission say that the majority of gambling financial risk checks will be seamless and unintrusive. However, Lipsey says that in his own experience as a politically exposed person, it took an exchange of 32 emails for him to be able to keep a betting account.

He notes that the Gambling Commission expects that 3 per cent of checks will be more detailed. It foresees “hard” checks for customers who spend £1,000 in 24 hours or £2,000 in 90 days.

There has been some heated debate between the Gambling Commission on one side and the gambling and horse racing sector on the other. The Gambling Commission has accused critics of the proposals of spreading “misinformation”. The regulator’s CEO Andrew Rhodes has described the work on financial risk checks as the “most challenging part of what we’re doing”.  A consultation on the issue closed last week.

In this article:
gambling regulation sports betting