UK horse racing to garner £90m per year from new levy system
The British horse racing industry has received a boost with the UK government having given its support to a new levy system under which all betting operators, including those based offshore, will have a to plough 10 per cent of their profits from events back into the sport.
The regulation, which was approved on Friday and applies to gross profits over £500,000 ($603,000), is due to come into effect this April, and will ensure about £90 million per annum in guaranteed income for British horse racing for at least the next seven years, according to the UK’s Guardian newspaper.
However, the levy is subject to European Union rules on state aid.
The new plans were first presented in March of last year and are seen as a suitable replacement for the existing system, which dates back to 1961, but which has become outdated as offshore operators are not compelled to contribute.
Tracey Couch, the UK’s sports minister, said of the proposed change: “This move will help secure the future of horseracing in Britain by making sure that gambling firms pay a fair return to support the sport. Horse racing has a strong heritage in this country, employing thousands of people and is enjoyed by many almost every day of the year. This new approach to the Horserace Betting Levy will help sustain and develop the sport.”
It is envisaged that the proceeds will go towards prize money, integrity, equine welfare, veterinary science and the mental and physical wellbeing of participants.
A downturn in funding from gambling prompted the British Horseracing Authority to launch the Authorised Betting Partners scheme under which certain bookmakers, 18 until now, have been making voluntary contributions from their offshore business in return for privileges in the sport.
Bookmakers refusing to sign up have been blocked from entering new sponsorship deals with racecourses and their events.
the chief executive of the BHA, said on Friday: “I welcome today’s announcement from Government regarding the
implementation of the Levy replacement which will restore to racing a return
from all betting on our sport at a fair and proportionate rate. This is
critical to the future health of British racing.”
“Once the new system is implemented in April 2017, we will see a significant uplift in the sport’s central funding that will benefit our participants and the many local communities which racing supports across all corners of the country.
He added: “British racing is committed to working closely with our partners in the British betting industry to make a success of this new environment, and grow what is the most natural, exciting betting product to the future advantage of both our industries and the wider economy.”