New deal to replace Levy: The British Racing industry today welcomed the Government’s announcement in Parliament that it will fast-track a replacement for the Horserace Betting Levy for introduction by April 2017.
The scheme will replace the current Levy system, which was first introduced in 1961, and close the significant loophole which has allowed some operators to avoid making any contribution to the sport from the increasing amount of remote and offshore betting.
This significant and historic development means a brighter future for horseracing and will provide a strong platform to grow our sport in partnership with betting operators. It is excellent news for the 85,000 people who earn their living from Racing, for the millions of people who enjoy the sport, and for all those equine activities which touch the lives of so many people across Britain.
The new funding mechanism, which the Government aims to introduce by April 2017, will ensure that all bets placed on British Racing by a British-based customer will now fall under its scope, whether they are placed in a retail betting shop or remotely, ensuring a fair return to the sport.
It will restore to Racing a fair contribution from all betting operators that has been lost as a result of the shift towards remote and offshore betting.
While this is very welcome news, in the short term, British Racing still faces the prospect of shortfalls in funding before the new arrangements take effect, with further potential leakage in the Levy this year. As a result, Racing is committed to building on its ABP initiative to smooth the transition to the new funding model and to maintain the current level of Levy funding.
Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said: “Today’s announcement is one that should prove truly historic. The new funding model will ensure a fair transfer of funding to British Racing based on all betting activity on the sport – a link that was first established in law in 1961. It meets all of Racing’s requirements for a new funding model and can bear fruit in 2017, which is crucial given the significant Levy cliff we face.
“In the longer term, this means greater financial security for the sport, a platform for growth, a huge boost to our participants and more certainty for the tens of thousands of people who rely on Racing for their livelihoods.
“We look forward to working with Government on the details of these proposals and to make sure the implementation timetable they have announced today is achieved.
“We now have a great opportunity to bring together Racing and Betting in tackling the sport’s funding issues for the benefit of all parties, and this is something that we are actively pursuing. We want to focus the joint efforts of Racing and Betting on innovation and growth in the sport as a betting product.”
Philip Freedman, Executive Chairman of the Horsemen’s Group, said: “Horsemen will be delighted by the announcement that Racing will get rights to funding from offshore bookmakers by April 2017. Restoring Racing’s income from betting to the levels intended by previous Government determinations, before so much betting had migrated off-shore and outside the scope of the Levy, is an essential step in growing the industry to the benefit of both Horsemen and betting operators.”
Stephen Atkin, Chief Executive of the Racecourse Association (RCA), said: “The Racecourse Association warmly welcomes Government’s announcement as a critical moment for the sport and an important development for all of our members. Once implemented, this will provide much needed stability and an incentive to both racecourses and horsemen to invest in the sport for the long-term. We look forward to working with our colleagues in Racing and Betting as well as the Government to help implement this decision.”