MPs to debate minimum bet rule for horse racing
MPs are set to discuss the introduction of a new minimum bet rule to deter operators from limiting stakes on horse racing bets to just pennies.
A parliamentary seminar has been organised for January 23rd by Philip Davies MP, who is co-chair of the All-Party Betting and Gaming Group (APBGG). Along with other MPs, the audience will consist of senior figures from the UK Gambling Commission and other industry groups. It will take place at Portcullis House, across the road from the Houses of Parliament.
Davies has organised the seminar after hearing numerous complaints from residents in his constituency that their bets, sometimes even of small stakes, were often refused by bookmakers.
Minimum bet rules would require bookies to take bets to win up to a nominated amount and would prevent bettors being restricted in their stakes by bookmakers. The Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF), which was established to protect bettors on the sport, have said that a minimum bet is needed to prevent potential customers being forced away from the sport.
Industry focus is usually on those who lose large amounts at bookmakers, not on those who win. However, consistent winners at both online and physical gambling operators have long complained that bookmakers have refused to take their bets at the desired stake, if at all. Currently, discretion lies with the bookmaker whether to take a bet or not, and many operators have refused to take bets from punters simply because of their winning records.
Minimum bet rule gaining traction in horse racing
Australia leads the way for the minimum bet rule in horse racing, with the concept being introduced back in 2014. Many bookmakers and states have already implemented the rule, such as Racing New South Wales in 2014, which was followed by Racing Victoria in 2016. While the framework was welcomed in Victoria, it also came under criticism for having strict criteria, such as often only being applicable 30 minutes before a race.
Crownbet became the first corporate operator to do so nationwide in mid 2016.
The Queensland Government announced that it too would be adopting the policy, which came into effect on 1st January 2018.
Davies’ move is some way behind Australia then, but it has been welcomed by industry groups. While the seminar will be a step in the right direction for horse racing fans getting a fairer deal from operators, any action from the UK government is likely still a long way off.