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UK Politician Hits Out at Proposed Affordability Checks

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Earlier this week, the Conservative MP Philip Davies called the UKGC and UK government’s proposed affordability checks “completely unacceptable”.

The matter was debated in parliament after a petition started by Jockey Club chief executive Nevin Truesdale passed the 100,000 signature mark in November. Davies used to chair the All-Party Parliamentary Group of Betting and Gaming, and he explained that he was speaking for bettors and the horse racing industry.

Davies argued that punters are often caught in the middle between “the well-funded betting industry and the well-funded anti-gambling campaigners.” He agreed that encouraging players to only bet what they can afford is sensible but labeled the proposals “unacceptable”.

It is unacceptable that the government, the Gambling Commission and the bookmakers will basically, between them, decide how much each individual punter can afford to spend on their betting and the punter gets virtually no say whatsoever.

StatementPhilip Davies MP

Davies Argues for Horseracing Industry

Davies then went on to discuss the potential effects horse racing industry. He explained that British racing is the second biggest spectator sport in the UK (after football) and attracts a “huge amount” of investment from abroad.

The MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire highlighted how the horse racing industry receives a large amount of income from gambling and as such, if punters are driven to the black market, then there will be less money for the sport.

A similar argument was put forward last October by Lord Lipsey, Labour Party peer and chair of Premier Greyhound Racing.

Carolyn Harris Argues for Affordability Checks

In response, Carolyn Harris, the deputy leader of the Welsh Labour Party and MP for Swansea East, argued that if introduced sensibly, affordability checks could have a positive impact.

Harris said that the government and the UKGC have a responsibility towards those who suffer from gambling addiction. However, she stressed that she is not anti-gambling, saying, “I am very fond of visiting the racetrack, as I am the bingo hall.”

Rather, she thinks that affordability checks should be implemented on those who are gambling “larger sums” as she believes it would stop people from gambling money they can’t afford to lose.

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