Skip to main content


Volume 740: debated on Thursday 16 November 2023

Horseracing is an integral part of British sporting culture, and we recognise the significant contribution the sport makes to the economy. We have commenced the review of the horserace betting levy, to commit to a sustainable future for racing, and the British Horseracing Authority’s 2024 fixture list for racing shows an estimated £90 million improvement to British racing’s finances until 2028.

My right hon. Friend will be aware that many racegoers and people who work in a variety of jobs across the sector are concerned that increased affordability checks could have a detrimental impact on British horseracing. What assurances can he provide that affordability checks will not be intrusive and that millions of hard-working Brits will still be free to safely enjoy the great British tradition of a day at the races?

I know that my hon. Friend has a keen interest in this area. We absolutely recognise the relationship between betting and racing, and have no intention of over-regulating. In fact, it is the current system that is inconsistent, and we want to bring some uniformity to it. We have had several meetings with racing stakeholders, the gambling industry and the Gambling Commission this week. We have been very clear that we will not mandate checks until we are confident that they are frictionless and that the majority of those who enjoy gambling safely can continue to do so, while protecting those who may enter gambling harm.

I thank the Minister for his response. The terrible weather conditions in the last three or four weeks has had an impact on the horse- racing sector. The races at Down Royal, on the edge of my constituency, were cancelled because the flooding was of biblical proportions. Horseracing is very important to my constituents, and many people are involved in it. That had an impact on their ability to attend. Has the Minister had discussions with other Departments to ensure that any help that can be given to the horseracing sector for those races that were lost is given?

First, may I say what a pleasure it was to visit the hon. Gentleman’s constituency a few weeks ago? He is asking if I can do something about the weather; I wish I could. I understand the impact it might have. I would be happy to discuss any specific issues relating to the racecourse he mentioned, and to see whether I can talk to colleagues in other Departments about that.