This week’s long awaited triennial review of gaming machines stakes and prizes not only led to a 12 week consultation period, but also incited an incredibly heated debate in Parliament on Tuesday.
As part of the debate, the case was made for how future regulations on terminals could have implications on the horse racing industry, both co-chairs of the all-party group on racing and bloodstock industries, Conor McGinn and Laurence Robertson, highlighted to the UK’s Sports Minister Tracey Crouch just how important the decision is for the horse racing industry.
The Labour MP for St Helens, McGinn was eager to make Crouch aware that “horse-racing relies heavily on the levy from bookmakers and on advertising, sponsorship and media rights.”
He went onto seek confirmation from the Minister that ‘she will work with the industry—with horse-racing—in the coming weeks to ensure that, while protecting those who are vulnerable to gambling addiction, which we all want to do, we protect jobs, investment and economic benefits the come from horse racing and the country’s racecourses.”
The Conservative MP for Tewkesbury, Robertson, supported the case for protecting horse racing, he stated that: “I am a little bit concerned by the Minister’s suggestion that bookmakers might be able to transfer bets to racing from FOBTs. I do not think there is any evidence that that would happen, although I very much hope that it would.
“I stress the importance to horse-racing of the support of bookmakers. That is not unique to the United Kingdom; it is the same across the world. When the Minister takes her decision, will she consult fully with all strands of horse-racing.”
Crouch responded by underlining that there is “no intention to damage the horse racing industry.” She continued by describing horse racing as an “incredibly important industry” within her portfolio, claiming that the DCMS “do not envisage these changes having a particularly negative impact on horse-racing—in fact, they may well encourage bookmakers and others to focus more on horse-racing.”