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NEWS 13 June 2016

UK operators have allegedly closed 20,000 accounts

By David Cook
The UK Horseracing Bettors’ Forum (HBF) has estimated that 20,000 British online accounts were closed by operators over the last six months.

The estimation was included in a publication of the results of a survey conducted between 3 April and 30 April, which found that over 4,000 accounts were restricted in the previous six-month period and over 1,000 accounts were closed.

Those numbers were based on the reporting of 878 respondents, and 59% of which stated that their interest in betting on horseracing had been reduced as a result of account restrictions and closures.

The survey was open for horseracing bettors only.

While the survey only reported 1,000 account closures, the 20,000 estimate is based on separate figures obtained by HBF from bookmakers.

That data also leads to an estimation that 40,000 accounts are likely to have been restricted in the period and that at least 7,000 individuals are likely to have been affected.

A total of 94% of respondents claimed to have been given no other reason for the restriction or closure than it being a “trading decision”.

Simon Rowlands, chair of HBF, was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “On the face of it, this is a significant problem, if the appeal of betting on horse racing is possibly being seriously eroded by the trading practices of individual bookmakers.”

The Guardian also quoted a bookmaker source that said “the vast majority of customers” are unaffected by closure or restriction.

HBF said it will publish more findings in due course.
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