The Gambling Review - Affordability Checks and how this effects you !
PLUS what you can do to help
You may have heard people talking about The Gambling Review. In the video below Neil discusses and explains ablout this on the Luck on Sunday show.
Neil will also be writing a regular article/ blog exploring various parts of this very important subject.
Blog 07/02/2022 'Gambling Review...how we got here' by Neil Channing. Read it here
Blog 15/02/2022 ' Gambling Review... How the Checks Work Now' by Neil Channing. Read it here
Blog 22/02/2022 ' Gambling Review... How Will Affordability Checks Affect the Gambling Industry and the Sport of Horse Racing... By Neil Channing. Read it here
Blog 28/02/2022 'Gambling Review...Problem Gambling in the UK' by Neil Channing. Read it here
Blog 9/03/2022 'Gambling Review... So Much is Missing' by Neil Channing. Read it here
Blog 22/03/2022 'Gambling Review... Restrictions' by Neil Channing. Read it here
Blog 31/03/2022 'Gambling Review... A Few Suggestions that will Probably be Ignored'. Read it here
Blog 29/04/2022 'Single Customer View SCV vs Single Customer Wallet SCW' by Neil Channing. Read it here
Neil Channing on the Gambling Review - Luck on Sunday
The best thing that punters can do if they are unhappy about these measures becoming law, is to write to their MP. You can easily find out who your MP is by clicking here It doesn't really matter which party your MP belongs to as there are parliamentarians from all parties who love horse racing and others who seem to hate gambling. You will need to include your name and address as MPs will only engage with correspondence from their own constituents.
I am writing to express my major concerns about the upcoming White Paper which is currently being drawn up by Chris Philp and which will lead to a new Gambling Act. As a keen fan of horseracing, I am extremely worried that the proposed changes could have the unintended consequence of destroying the British horseracing industry.
The main focus of the conversation so far has been on the protection of problem gamblers. Nobody wants to see people suffering from issues with problem gambling, but the suggestions to bring in strict affordability checks and to limit the amounts customers can deposit each month have not been well thought through, are not based on evidence and could potentially cause huge damage to an industry that employs over 100,000 people and brings in £4bn annually to the Treasury.
Racing currently receives around £350m a year from sponsorship, media rights and the yield from betting levy and all of this would come under enormous threat. The imposition of these affordability checks on a smallish number of customers has been trialled already and the turnover of their bets went down between 40% and 60% depending on the threshold imposed. Even at the lower number, the sport of horse racing could be destroyed and that means a lot of jobs and potential future revenue, plus a lot of enjoyment for the six million who attend race meetings each year and the many more who watch on TV.
When the government announced plans to review the 2005 Gambling Act, we were promised a wide ranging review of the gambling industry due to the view, commonly held by all sides, that the Act needs to be updated to bring us into the digital age. The problem seems to be though that the Minister is spending all his time talking to only two groups: the major gambling corporations and the gambling reform groups who vary from people who wish to protect vulnerable gamblers to those who want gambling to be abolished. Problem gamblers are less than 0.5% of people who gamble and not many people run large multinationals so we are left with the 99% who just enjoy betting as a pastime not being represented. The Horserace Bettors Forum are a group set up to represent ordinary punters and they have not been listened to in the process at all.
I believe that having to send in up to 20 types of documentation including your passport, P60, company accounts, bank statements, details of savings and other extremely personal information is a massive infringement of civil liberties which is not required in any other avenue of spending and I don't believe the large gambling corporations should be trusted with all this information or that they are capable of handling it. People who want to buy shares, fine art, expensive wine or crypto currency don't have these kind of intrusive checks although many of those "investments" could be seen as way more risky.
Even if a new organisation was set up to deal with this massive amount of administration the idea that the companies can now share the information through the idea of Single Customer View which is being suggested, strikes me as dangerous. The huge cost of dealing with all this paperwork could be better spent on increasing the facilities to deal with the problem gamblers that have already been identified. We currently have just three centres in the UK and the new ones promised are way overdue. These draconian measures are likely to drive people to the black market and the world of illegal bookmakers and that will just make the problem worse.
The gambling corporations already hold a huge amount of information on customer behaviour which they use not only to identify potential problem gamblers but also to weed out people they see as potentially damaging to their business, who could be long term winners. With the threat of massive changes coming in through the act many firms have responded by trialling these measures already, some for under 25s, some for people showing potentially harmful tendencies and some who are simply larger punters. Perhaps if the Gambling Commission was better resourced or had more teeth it wouldn't have come to this, but we are going from the situation of a few years ago where a very small number of people were allowed to gamble way more than they could afford, by an industry that played fast and loose, to a world where the huge majority of people who simply enjoy their hobby are having their personal finances investigated by people who have no business rummaging around in their life.
The 99% of people who just enjoy gambling as a hobby that enhances their leisure time would possibly say that the new gambling act should focus more on consumer protection, reforming the Gambling Commission and looking at the issue of seperating sports betting, which involves much more skill and thought, from online casino games, which are known to be way more addictive. The large corporations don't want to make this change but it would do a lot more towards reducing gambling harm than bringing in these affordability checks.
What we are likely to see is that the Minister will act to appease the two groups who are shouting the loudest and these intrusive checks will be enforced, many punters will walk away, some will go to the black market, the sport of horse racing may be destroyed and nobody will have listened to the silent majority.
I'm appealing to you to represent me on this and speak to the Minister.
[your name and address]
You will need to add your full name and address to prove you are from that constituency or your MP will reject the email.