Rishi Sunak Raises Concerns Of ‘Enhanced Affordability Checks’

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has raised direct concerns with the DCMS regarding the imposition of more ‘enhanced affordability checks’ on bookmakers.

Confirmed by the Racing Post, Sunak’s Richmond North Yorkshire constituency local racing delegates wrote to the Chancellor opposing a request for a consultation being reviewed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

2005 Gambling Act

A consultation has been carried out to discuss more possible measures on remote gambling consumer safety and player affordability restrictions as part of the government’s ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

A plan to impose a ‘safety threshold’ of a cumulative £ 100 loss for consumers before presenting proof that they can afford to wager is among the steps.

Blanket measure

Racing management claims that the imposition of a ‘blanket measure’ such as the £ 100 protection threshold would have a further £ 60 million effect on the sport’s revenues.

It is confirmed that Sunak directly approached DCMS Secretary Oliver Dowden with regard to the radical steps.

Sunak is said to be leading the exchequer in ongoing negotiations with various UK business leaders as he prepares to deliver the UK Spring Budget on 3 March, proposing new funding schemes for pandemic-impacted companies.

Meanwhile, as the current CEO of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Julie Harrington discussed the issue with UKGC chief Neil McArthur during an ‘introductory meeting.’

As the sport had been reversed by a year of Covid constraints, Harrington cautioned that racing could not afford to cross any more revenue barriers, forcing it to accommodate a £ 250 million revenue hit from closed race courses.

Support enhanced affordability checks

Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) Chief Executive Michael Dugher reiterated his support for fair and evidence-led initiatives.

He tweeted: “I support enhanced affordability checks on betting, but these should be targeted towards at-risk groups – not the millions of people who bet perfectly safely. If checks are unnecessarily onerous, punters will go to the unsafe, unregulated black market.”

Speculation in the media is rising as to how DCMS and the government will perform their generational analysis of the Gambling Act of 2005.

The Daily Telegraph claimed this week that PM Boris Johnson would support the prohibition of football-wide gambling shirt sponsorships as a cross-party support initiative.