Lucy Frazer insists affordability checks will only come into play once the government is certain “they do what they say on the tin”
Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Secretary of State Lucy Frazer has reassured the industry that the government isn’t interested in “overregulating” the sector with affordability checks.
In a column for the Racing Post, Frazer outlined the government’s current position on the proposed affordability checks that were detailed in April’s white paper into the Gambling Act 2005 Review.
She argued that both herself and the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak know “how much racing means to the country, the people who support it and those millions who enjoy it every year”.
Frazer began her opine by noting that affordability checks currently being put in place by operators were overcomplicated and hampering customers.
She said: “At the moment, industry-run checks, which are designed to spot unaffordable losses, are often inconsistent, ad hoc and can be unnecessarily onerous, with customers having to manually provide reams of personal data to navigate a maze of different tick-boxes.”
However, while the DCMS head explained that it was not the government’s role to tell people “how they can and can’t spend their money”, there was a need to protect the vulnerable in society.
She continued: “But we know, for some, gambling leads to a dangerous cycle of addiction that can feel impossible to escape. We have a duty of care to those at the greatest risk of devastating and life-changing financial losses.”
Frazer insisted that the checks would not be rolled out en masse until they were truly frictionless and were being used to prevent gambling-related harms, rather than hampering bettors.
She commented: “The current status quo is simply not giving any customer a good experience. With new, proportionate financial risk checks, we can change that for the better with a frictionless system based on data sharing that protects those high-risk individuals.
“I can assure Racing Post readers we will never roll out the proposed checks until we are certain they do what they say on the tin.”
Frazer concluded by stressing that herself and Sunak were “determined” to support horseracing moving forwards.
She said: “While we, of course, cannot pre-empt the outcome of the Gambling Commission’s consultation, we are hugely grateful to the 2,400 people and organisations who have contributed.
“The government is listening. British racing is a prized sporting institution, watched and enjoyed by millions around the world,” Frazer concluded.