Punters’ body say bookies closed 20,000 betting accounts in six months

• Horserace Bettors Forum argue racing’s appeal is being undermined
• ‘Racing can’t continue to haemorrhage punters and followers’

On the eve of Royal Ascot, a group representing punters has warned the risk-averse practices of major bookmakers are undermining public interest in horse racing. The Horserace Bettors Forum believes as many as 20,000 accounts of British-based punters have been closed in the last six months, with perhaps twice as many restricted.

Those estimates are the result of a survey conducted by the HBF during April, the results of which are now published for the first time. The 878 respondents reported more than 1,000 closed accounts and more than 4,000 restricted accounts in the previous half-year. That led 59% of respondents to state their interest in betting on racing had been reduced.

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