The Gambling Act Review White Paper, an important step to ensuring proper gambling regulations fit for the digital age, was published by the UK Government on Thursday. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) welcomed the news.
There will now be a period of consultation between the Government and partners during which the BHA will continue to work to deliver a secure future for the sport.
Joe Saumarez Smith, Chair of the British Horseracing Authority and member of the Gambling Strategy Group (which has led on representations around the Gambling Act Review and Horserace Betting Levy reform) said, “Today's publication of the White Paper is an important moment for the industry on a significant issue for its future prosperity.
“It is crucial that any regulatory framework for gambling recognises that millions of people safely enjoy betting on horseracing, while taking action where needed to protect people experiencing gambling-related harm. British racing is already supporting work in this area through the development of a safer gambling policy, building on good practice already established on our racecourses.
“We are pleased that the UK Government has reflected on our industry's detailed representations and recognised the importance of British racing in today's White Paper. Throughout the last two years, we have spoken clearly and with one voice to the Government about the importance of proportionate legislation, and the significant potential for unintended consequences.
“While there are a range of measures included within the White Paper, there will be a series of further important consultation processes–including on the critical area of affordability checks–in the months ahead.
“In these, we will continue to make our case that sweeping blanket checks on affordability are not appropriate, with any measures needing to being proportionate and targeted at individuals and their specific circumstances.
“We will now undertake further consideration of these measures, assessing their impacts on British Racing, and will provide a comprehensive, evidence-based, response to the various processes which today's White Paper has commenced.”
Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, also stressed the importance of the White Paper and confirmed the Government's forthcoming review of the Horserace Betting Levy and added, “We very much welcome the launch of the review of the Horserace Betting Levy. This important review provides an opportunity for the Government to ensure British racing receives a fair return from betting activity, protects the sport against inflationary pressures, and maintains our position as the world-leader in thoroughbred racing and breeding.
“We call on the Government to now complete and implement this Levy review as soon as possible in order to support a great British sporting and cultural asset.
“While the publication of the White Paper sets out a roadmap for the future of gambling regulation in Britain, it is clear that substantial consultations will be required in the important weeks and months ahead.”