Affordability checks have been a divisive topic with some calling them a little too little a little too late, and others lambasting them for being overbearing, ill-defined, and ultimately detrimental to the health of the regulated market, and by extension, to the health of players and sports gamblers.
Yet, a new petition that has gathered steam and now has more than 100,000 signees, mostly from racing circles, wants affordability checks to be removed from the language of any new legislative attempts in the United Kingdom, giving hope to those who really want to avoid them. The petition is not a spontaneous consumer-led rebellion against the overbearing government, but rather, the work of industry leaders who fear that implementing such measures without understanding their impact would have a debilitating impact on the industry, and result in the loss of 80,000 jobs.
Sports that benefit from revenue from the gambling industry would also lose £250m over the next five years. The petition sets its goals clearly and states:
"We want the Government to abandon the planned implementation of affordability checks for some people who want to place a bet.
We believe such checks - which could include assessing whether people are 'at risk of harm' based on their postcode or job title - are inappropriate and discriminatory."
The gambling industry is grumpy as the language of the proposed measures could see players justify losses that are only a few pounds a day, which would be detrimental to the channelization into the regulated market. Even regulated markets are struggling with this issue right now, including Germany, where channelization has been surprisingly small, partially attributed to strict regulation that makes it harder for local companies to compete with the unchecked and unethical rogue websites operating from offshore.
Worse still, horse racing may be put in danger if the checks are applied and a subsequent drop in revenue and sponsorship opportunities occur. The exact numbers are hard to predict, but some analysts talk about a reduction from six to 11 per cent from online horse-betting yield. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has already hammered out most of the details on how such checks would work, but this seems to not be easing qualms at all.
Yet, financial checks are not that difficult to clear or implement, believe industry experts such as ClearStake CMO Tom Farrell, as his company specializes in making this process quick and efficient.
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