By | February 24, 2023
Reading Time: 2 minutes


Spotlight Sports Group (SSG), a world-leading technology, content and media company, has announced the results of a major betting survey conducted by the Racing Post, the undisputed home of horseracing content.

The Big Punting Survey received responses from more than 10,400 respondents in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland. The survey is believed to be one of the largest surveys of sports bettors ever carried out, and revealed detailed views relating to the current state of horseracing, betting activity and affordability checks.

This unique survey revealed that 17% of UK-based respondents and 13% of Ireland-based respondents have been asked to undertake an affordability check, whereby bettors are asked to provide bookmakers with bank statements and payslips. Of those, 55% refused to provide the financial documentation, and even of those who did provide documents, less than half (38%) were given what they regarded as a satisfactory deposit limit.

Discussing the results of the survey, Racing Post Editor and Group Racing Director, Tom Kerr said: “These results offer startling evidence of the degree to which affordability checks are already affecting a wide range of racing bettors and how few are willing to provide the sensitive financial documents requested by bookmakers. Even when some punters do reluctantly engage with the checks, less than one in two is left satisfied by the process.”

The participants almost uniformly (97%) said that they, rather than the government, regulator, or their bookmaker, are best placed to determine what is affordable to spend on gambling. Of those who haven’t yet been asked to undertake an affordability check, just 12% indicated they would comply with one.

When asked about the utilisation of black market bookmakers, almost 4% of the participants said they had used one in the past 12 months and another 11% know someone who has.

Tom Kerr added: “If you extrapolate these results across the wider racing audience, it creates an ominous picture for the sport and the regulated betting market in Britain. It’s clear bettors are increasingly turning to the black market, where onerous affordability checks are as absent as all other forms of player protection. Based on these findings, it’s likely that tens of thousands of bettors and hundreds of millions of pounds in betting turnover have already shifted to unregulated and untaxed offshore bookmakers.

“Next month’s Cheltenham Festival will see hundreds of thousands of racing fans increase their betting budget for one incredible week of sporting action at the home of jumps racing. However, that increased betting activity will almost certainly result in many of these bettors being subjected to affordability checks, which our polling indicates very few will comply with.

“As such, it’s likely that the 2023 Cheltenham Festival will prove an unprecedented bonanza for black market operators, but a black week for racing, which is seeing its revenue streams dry up as its customers stop betting.

“Under current Gambling Commission guidelines betting operators have no choice but to continue subjecting their customers to these incredibly unpopular affordability checks. It’s critical that the government steps in to provide common sense clarity on what is and isn’t expected by bookmakers before we end up driving yet more customers into the hands of black market operators, doing catastrophic damage to horse racing in the process.”

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