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Gambling review

Boss of Cheltenham Gold Cup sponsor Boodles says affordability checks would be an 'absolute disaster'

Racegoers at Cheltenham on Saturday were encouraged to sign the sport's petition against the formal implementation of affordability checks
Racegoers at Cheltenham on Saturday were encouraged to sign the sport's petition against the formal implementation of affordability checksCredit: Edward Whitaker

The managing director of Cheltenham Gold Cup sponsor Boodles has urged racing fans and punters to sign the petition to halt the formal implementation of affordability checks, and predicted that the government's controversial plan represents "an absolute disaster" for the sport.

Michael Wainwright, whose family firm has become a prominent racing supporter, was speaking on Saturday at Cheltenham where a crowd of just under 30,000 was once again encouraged to back a petition that has been signed by nearly 86,000 people. A petition that reaches 100,000 signatures can be considered for a debate in parliament.

"I think this would be an absolute disaster if they're too strict about it," said Wainwright.

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"I fear it will damage us badly. I would say 70 per cent of sponsorship money comes from betting companies. If betting is hit hard, that money will not come in. What would then happen to the more than 80,000 people who are employed in British racing? It would be a catastrophe and it cannot be allowed to happen. 

"If you go to the pub and have three pints of beer and ask for a fourth, you're not asked for a doctor's certificate, are you?"

Wainwright added: "There are ways that the government can be more discerning, such as by concentrating on online casinos. A horseracing bet is far more thought about than a casino gamble and it provides fun for a lot of people. Without betting, horseracing would collapse, it's as simple as that."

Punters and the racing industry are being called on to sign a petition calling on the government to stop the implementation of affordability checks. You can sign the petition here.

Read more on the Gambling Review here

BHA welcomes government response to British racing's petition against affordability checks 

Line-by-line analysis of the government's response to the affordability checks petition  

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Lee MottersheadSenior writer

Published on 18 November 2023inGambling review

Last updated 19:08, 18 November 2023