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Betting and Gaming Council Chairman Brigid Simmonds OBE has endorsed a new campaign from Racing TV enabling concerned horseracing fans to seek assurances from their MPs and DCMS Ministers.

Punters from across the country will have the chance to have their say on future gambling regulation. Many want to ensure that any changes will not impinge on their enjoyment of the sport and would not result in any unintended economic consequences to British horseracing.

Potential measures championed by anti-gambling prohibitionists have included blanket, intrusive, low level ‘affordability’ checks which will only serve to drive people to the unsafe unregulated black market online.

This initiative comes on the back of a recent survey of RacingTV members which showed that 15% of 3,500 respondents said that they bet, or they know someone that bets, with an unregulated online bookmaker.

In addition, nearly 80% of the respondents said they would not like to see mandatory limits imposed by bookmakers on how much punters can spend.

These affordability checks increase the risk of people heading to the black market, with 92% of respondents stating that they would consider using a different bookmaker if no personal information was required.

According to a recent report from EY, the betting and gaming industry generates £7.1bn in gross value added to the UK economy and contributes £4.2bn annually in taxes to the Treasury. Meanwhile the industry supports 110,000 jobs on high streets, in hospitality and in global tech powerhouses.

BGC Chairman, Brigid Simmonds OBE said: “The recent debate around the White Paper has shown us there is confusion, when there should be clarity.

“No one benefits from this, not our members, nor their millions of customers. We have always called for a package of reforms that will deliver real change, but these need to be carefully targeted to protect the small minority who are vulnerable, not impact on the enjoyment of the vast majority who bet safely and responsibly.

“BGC members are proud to provide financial support to the tune of £350 million to the horseracing industry each year. The White Paper should now be published without delay, to bring certainty for businesses and punters, so that investment can continue.

“Around 22.5m UK adults enjoy a bet each month, and according to the independent regulator, problem gambling rates remain low at 0.3 per cent.

“I would urge anyone who has an interest in racing and in protecting their enjoyment of betting on the sport to sign up to this campaign.”

Racecourse Media Group (parent company of Racing TV) CEO, Martin Stevenson said: “The widespread response to the Racing TV survey shows how much the ongoing Gambling Act Review, combined with their recent experiences, is affecting our members.

“Our survey revealed that 15% of respondents bet, or know someone that bets, with an unregulated bookmaker, which is of real concern. With millions of customers betting on racing, the findings of this survey indicate that hundreds of thousands of punters are potentially using the black market.

“A key priority for the White Paper is needing to listen to consumers and, according to this survey, their widespread rejection of affordability checks. They appear be having the dysfunctional effect of pushing potentially vulnerable punters into the unregulated black market and therefore an unsafe environment.”

You can email your MP by clicking entering your postcode to find your MP, and putting your name to the letter – a process which is straightforward and will take less than a minute to complete.

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