18 Jul 2001 Pre-2014 Releases

Making initial comments on the Report of the Gambling Review Body, published yesterday, BHB Secretary-General Tristram Ricketts said today:

“BHB’s submission to the Gambling Review Body was based on the twin principles of enhanced consumer protection and greater consumer choice. Many of the proposals we put forward are reflected in the GRB’s recommendations.

“We are pleased to see the recommendations for, inter alia, a new single regulatory authority; gambling debts to be legally enforceable; the abolition of the five-times entry rule for on-course bookmakers; and the removal of current restrictions on the advertising of betting, subject to the introduction of a code of practice.

“It is, however, most disappointing that BHB’s proposal for betting to be permitted, subject to appropriate controls, in locations other than those whose primary purpose is gambling has not met with a favourable response. This appears to run counter to the Report’s claim that the GRB’s recommendations are “designed to extend choice for adult gamblers”. It is also inconsistent with the GRB’s recommendation that the current restrictions on alcohol on the gaming floor in casinos be removed.

“The GRB propose that, while cash betting on horseracing will continue to be restricted to premises licensed for that purpose, bookmakers will be permitted to take bets on the National Lottery, betting offices will be allowed to install jackpot machines and casinos will increase significantly in both volume and profile. All this will inevitably place substantial further pressure on horserace betting turnover at a time when Racing is being prevented from making its product available elsewhere, generating additional sources of revenue and widening its customer base. There is a serious danger that Racing will be the victim of the creation of an increasingly unlevel playing field.

“BHB will now reflect on the details of the Report and submit comments to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport by the end of October.”

For further information, please contact Alan Delmonte, BHB Communications Manager, on 020 7343 3318