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FeatureAffordability: Your Stories

'If I can't get a bet on, I would think seriously about whether I'd own horses'

David Carr talks to Dave Simpson about the impact of affordability checks

Dave Simpson: "I like to back my own horses. It depends on the odds but I may have £1,000 or £1,500 on or £750 each-way."

In this series, we speak to Post readers and racing fans about the impact affordability checks are having. Here, David Carr talks to owner Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson has already left one sport and affordability checks are threatening to force him out of the one he turned to and embraced with a passion.

He is a retired businessman from near Manchester who was a partner in an electrical company that made control panels for industry, alongside being a regular at Old Trafford.

"I had VIP tickets at Manchester United in one of their suites but when I got ill I couldn't get to the ground so I said to my wife I needed another interest, so I turned to horseracing," Simpson said.

"I've always followed it and liked a flutter, although not to the extent that I do now. I was struggling physically but I could get to the races in my scooter."

Simpson became involved in racing to the extent that he now owns all or part of five horses in Jimmy Moffatt's Cartmel yard, enjoying 15 winners in his first two years.

"I like to back my own horses," Simpson said. "It depends on the odds but I may have £1,000 or £1,500 on or £750 each-way."

Therein lies the issue for a man whose enjoyment is increasingly being hindered by obstacles placed in the way of having a bet.

"I'm having problems with nearly every bookmaker now," he said. "They want all my financial information, bank statements, pension statements, pay slips, P45s, all that sort of thing. I said I'm not doing it. I don't know who they are, with all the fraud there is about I'm not sending them all that.

"It got to the stage with one firm that after I had a couple of nice wins, I placed £50 on a horse and won £750 but when I went to draw the money it told me I needed to speak to customer services. When I rang them and they said until I provided all the financial information I couldn't have my £750, but that was my money.

"This went on for a while and I took them to the small claims court, which I've had to do in business, and they paid within a week."

'What a joke. I was fuming'

The Racing Post's coverage of the problems facing owners and punters has rung a bell with Simpson, who said: "The worst case was when a woman from due diligence rang me from a firm. I was on the phone for an hour and three-quarters and I explained the situation, I said I had quite a large private pension plus my state pension. I explained that I bet well within my limits, I don't go chasing losses but I liked backing horses.

"She was great on the phone but the next news I got was a note saying they'd limit me to £500 a month. What a joke. I was fuming – she'd said on the phone she was okay with everything."

All of which is leading Simpson to question how long he will stay involved in racing.

"If I can't get a bet on, I would think seriously about whether I'd own horses," he said. "It's part of the enjoyment. Everybody wants to try and beat the bookie.

"To have a bet on your own horse and see it go past that winning post, to pick up the trophy and prize-money and then see the winnings in your account – it's special."

Simpson has looked at other ways of betting and said: "I could do it on course but if I wanted to have a decent bet I might be carrying £2,000 around and I don't want to do that.

"I've discussed betting on the black market with a few other owners because they're all experiencing the same problem and illegal bookmakers have been mentioned. That's a really slippery slope, isn't it? You don't know what you are betting into, but what do you do?"

Simpson is fully aware of the issues of money laundering and problem gambling but said: "If your money is coming from a reputable bank account, I don't see what the problem is. You can't open a bank account without all the checks already having been done on you.

“The biggest single cause of problem gambling is online casinos. The issue is not the guy having £50 on a horse at Cheltenham, it's the guy gambling £1,000 a day on those machines."

  • To complete the Gambling Commission's consultation on affordability checks, visit and follow the instructions.
  • The Racing Post also wants to hear from you: What has been your experience of affordability checks since the white paper was published at the end of April, and what do you think of the government's proposals? Have affordability checks affected your betting behaviour?
  • It's a chance for your voice to be heard. Email the Racing Post at with the subject 'Affordability checks' to share your experiences, your thoughts about the government's proposals, and your contact details.

Your stories of affordability checks:

'I've been betting for more than 40 years but people like me are just going to disappear' 

'I sent my tax calculation, savings account and valuation of stocks and shares - and it did me no good whatsoever' 

'All of a sudden you're being made to feel guilty for having a flutter. Why can't it be taken as an enjoyment?' 

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Published on 18 September 2023Last updated 18:00, 18 September 2023