Gamblers: Already feeling the effects of accessibility controls

“Illogical and disproportionate intrusion” – owners criticize accessibility controls | Horse racing news

Edward Whitaker (

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Gamblers: Already feeling the effects of accessibility controls

Edward Whitaker (

By Peter Scargill, Deputy Industry Editor

The race is at risk of losing owners following intrusive affordability checks, two millionaire sports fans have warned.

The warning came after they revealed they even got caught up in repeated requests for sensitive financial information from bookmakers to allow them to bet.

One landlord warned that “excessive, illogical and disproportionate trespassing” could cause “many landlords [to] losing motivation to own horses’, while another said he and his brother had sold off a significant portion of their blood stock and racing interests, saying ‘why should we provide bookies with their material first when they are treated so badly”.

Regulated operators, under the strict guidance of the Gambling Commission, are increasingly asking bettors to provide personal financial documents, such as bank statements and payslips, in order to determine the sources of their funds for bets and prove that they can afford to continue to do so.

The commission was reprimanded on Thursday for its stance on affordability by Paul Scully, Britain’s minister responsible for gambling, who said it was not the government’s or the commission’s role to determine how much a person could afford. allow to play.

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Paul Scully: This week the minister gave the clearest indication yet of the government's thinking on affordability checks

Paul Scully: This week the minister gave the clearest indication yet of the government’s thinking on affordability checks

Among those targeted to divulge additional financial information to allow them to continue betting is a longtime owner of Flat whose family fortune, derived from a successful career in the pharmaceutical sector, has been estimated at more than £100million by the Sunday Times Rich List.

The owner, who the Racing Post calls ‘Jonathan’ as he does not wish to be publicly identified, raced nine horses in Britain last year and had already enjoyed success in major races at Listed level and at major festivals of Flat, as well as keeping a credit betting account for more than 40 years.

After providing a bank statement and a P60, Jonathan was asked for further submissions by his bookie but declined, advising them that “any sensible and unbiased analysis of my history and the information provided could not suggest that I am a potentially vulnerable person who could justify your digging into my individual and private banking transactions”.

In a letter to the bookmaker seen by the Racing Post, Jonathan stressed that he “fears for the future of horse racing in the UK, which relies heavily on the betting tax to fund prize money” and highlighted how owners’ ability to have a bet on their horse, if they so choose, could improve their experience, with the failure to do so potentially catastrophic for the sport.

“As an owner for most of my life, it probably won’t come as a surprise to know that the amount I spend on betting is a tiny fraction of the amount I spend buying, keeping and training horses,” said he wrote.

“Owners rarely claim to do anything more than a colossal loss of this expensive hobby, but rarely are their motives for financial gain.

“That said, part of the fun comes from having the proverbial flutter, to add an extra edge to the excitement and, at times, a boost to the modest prize money.

“I mention this because there is a very real danger that excessive, illogical and disproportionate intrusion into one’s financial affairs will almost certainly meet with resistance from many, if not most, owners and bettors.

“If, as a result, accounts are closed, many owners will lose their motivation to own horses and many punters will no longer bet on them. As a result, the betting tax is set to fall significantly and Britain’s already perilous racing situation will be further threatened.

He added: “Your statement that your review team ‘always asks for full unedited bank statements’ appears to reflect a worrying, overzealous, blunt and blind approach to what should be a careful, sensitive, proportionate and personalized assessment. of each case.”

The extent of financial information requested by bookmakers has been described as ‘scandalous’ by a Group 1 winning owner, after he was asked to provide his brother’s bank statements as well as his own to continue betting.

The owner, who has had a rewarding career in finance, had previously flipped seven figures on betting exchanges before his accounts were closed after he refused to comply with requests for bank statements from his brother, with whom he had affairs. horses since 2006.

Despite data protection concerns, the owner, who has bred group winners on the Flat but has now sold his broodmares, yearlings and colts, initially provided bookmakers with his financial documentation but became frustrated when requests more information came.

“It went so far that if you had received a stock dividend they wanted proof that you owned the stock, it was so intrusive,” he said. “What also worries me is that the volume of information they are asking for means that it is unlikely that someone in a leadership position, someone who might be able to look at things from sensible manner and to use discretion, can consult this information.

“I lend my brother money and he does the same to me from time to time, which led them to ask me to provide them with his bank statements. If I reluctantly allowed them to see mine, there was no way, even if I could, that I would let them see his – it’s outrageous.

The owner said there was ‘zero pragmatism’ from the bookmakers about what people could keep betting on, pointing out he was unable to even enter the ITV 7 tipping contest free from ITV Racing as his Sky Bet account had been closed. by checks.

“If the whitepaper comes out and the accessibility controls have limited impact, I’m not even sure I would want to start betting with these companies again given the way I was treated,” he said. he adds.

Read this next:

Minister rebukes Gambling Commission for intrusive accessibility controls

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