Labour Party colleague and Premier Greyhound Racing chair, Lord Lipsey slammed government proposals for affordability checks because of their possible effects on greyhound races.
Lord Lipsey said that the gambling commission’s current plans for checks will damage the greyhound racing industry by forcing intrusive tests on customers who spend a lot. He argues these checks will “simply vanish”.
Bagehot, a former columnist for The Economist’s Bagehot magazine, highlighted the voluntary levies on bookmakers that help support British Greyhound racing. British Greyhound Racing Fund is responsible for collecting the levies. The majority of bookmakers who participate in this sport make a voluntary payment.
The Greyhound Levy helps support dog welfare
Lipsey stated that the British Greyhound Racing Fund receives the bulk of the money (51.4%) raised through the levy. Lipsey added that another 19% of the money raised by the levy goes towards regulation.
The total amount of the tax has declined in real terms over the last decade, he said. In inflation-adjusted numbers, the total fell from PS11m to PS8.2m by July 2023.
Lipsey said that Premier Greyhound Racing did not have any independent data on the effect of the crackdown proposed by the Commission on affordability. Greyhound racing has heavy-hitter bettors who, just like in horse racing, would likely stop betting on the dogs if there were a strict affordability check.
Lipsey cited his experience in trying to bet as a Politically Exposure Person. It took him 32 emails to be exchanged for him to retain his account.
The Commission’s Consultation Paper admits that 2% to 3% of gamblers may have intrusive tests.
Lipsey said, “They are almost always the biggest punters.” The big punters include both those who have gambling issues and those that just like to bet. Like horseracing, greyhound racing has made every effort to promote safer betting.
If the Gambling Commission continues to investigate big bettors, then they’ll simply vanish. Some of them will turn to the black markets. “Some will go to the black market.”
The debate on affordability is raging
Lipsey’s comments represent the latest contribution to the heated debate surrounding proposed affordability checks.
Financial risk assessments are also known as these. In the white paper on the Gambling Act Review, the government proposed these measures. In the white paper, the government put out a provision for consultation. The consultation ended yesterday.
The white paper envisages that “hard” check could be activated with just a PS1,000 spent in 24 hours, or a PS2,000 spend within 90 days.
They have been extremely controversial both in the British racing industry and some sections of British Politics. Many MPs wrote opinion pieces in which they criticized the new measures.
In September, a minor controversy broke out when Tim Miller, the executive director of the Commission’s gambling regulations select committee suggested that postcodes could influence checks.
Andrew Rhodes, the Commission’s chief of staff, recently spoke out against what he described as “misinformation”.