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Cheltenham is one of the world’s biggest celebrations of responsible gambling

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The biggest week of the horse racing calendar is well underway. For true fans of the sport, this is horse racing’s Premier League, Masters and Ashes all rolled into one. The Grand National might be the nation’s race, but Cheltenham is the one that really matters for those of us who like a safe bet on the horses.

But with the government set to introduce new legislation this year that threatens to penalise responsible gamblers, it struck me that this might be the last Cheltenham Festival as we know it. It is after all one of the largest gatherings of responsible gamblers anywhere in the world.

What impact would disproportionate checks on affordability have? Would every punter have to submit a bank statement to prove that they can afford a day at the races?

What about limits on how much we are allowed to place on an individual bet? Tens of thousands of responsible people limited to just £5 on each race? It hardly makes sense and would surely have an impact on the livelihoods of those who enable these events to go ahead.

I will be enjoying this year’s Cheltenham as usual, and I hope I can enjoy the next one without worrying that the government is set to bring in rules that will destroy the pastimes of responsible punters.

About the Author

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Greetings! I am James (known as Jay), a Scouser aged 47 from Kirkby in Liverpool.

I live with Angie, my girlfriend of 25 years.

I am extremely passionate about two sports - football and horseracing. I am a season ticket holder at my beloved Everton Football Club. Until the COVID-19 pandemic struck, I had not missed a competitive match for Everton - home, away or in Europe - for 22 years, and Angie is a regular away match attendee too.

Also on on my 'bucket list' is to attend a race meeting at all 61 current UK racecourses. The most recent visit was to Kempton's all-weather meeting in August - that was racecourse number 42 clocked up!