The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) welcomes the announcement from the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) that around £80 million has been generated in Levy in the year ending on 31 March 2021.
Racing was suspended for the first two months of the year and licensed betting offices have been closed or restricted for much of the period since.
The figure announced today shows that the public has continued to enjoy safely the fun of betting on racing, even when people have been unable to attend race-meetings.
Television audiences have grown and the racing industry has appreciated the additional coverage from ITV racing, which is the biggest shop-window for the sport.
The turnover from betting on the Cheltenham Festival was particularly strong and a similar pattern was seen at the Grand National meeting at Aintree, which will contribute to the next year’s yield.
The betting and racing industries have worked together to ensure that betting has been responsible during the period of COVID restrictions, providing advice and support to our customers.
The BHA and its industry partners have been developing proposals to put to the HBLB for using the £21 million of loan funding received from the UK government. Today’s figure will now be taken into account before agreeing how central funds can best be used to support recovery in the coming months, mindful of the very significant reduction in prize money over the past year. Agreement on prize money levels from 1 July onwards is now expected before the end of May.
Industry executives will also be examining the detailed figures for betting on racing over the past year as part of the work towards longer-term reform of the Levy and addressing the challenges faced by British racing, particularly with regard to its international competitiveness.
BHA Executive Director Will Lambe said:
“Today’s news shows how racing continues to provide great excitement and entertainment to the public and is a fun and responsible way to enjoy betting.
“It’s a credit to the commitment and passion of all our participants and to the great stories that racing generates through our jockeys, trainers, owners and the staff who look after our horses.
“We thank all the media who have brought these stories to the British public over the last 12 months, including our racing channels and ITV sport.
“We thank the Horserace Betting Levy Board for the work it has done over the past year to support racing through this crisis, increasing its expenditure so that prize money levels could be maintained wherever possible, and providing additional funding to racecourses.
“We also thank our colleagues in the betting industry who do so much to promote racing to their customers. These results demonstrate the potential for growing the public’s engagement in racing, the benefits this can bring to the tens of thousands of people employed in both our industries and to the country as whole, especially in rural economies.
“As British racing battles to recover from the financial impact of COVID, this is an encouraging moment as we strive to achieve better funding for our world-class industry, including a fair and sustainable Levy.”
Notes to editors:
1. The statement from the Horserace Betting Levy Board confirming the indicative levy yield for 2020/21 can be found here: https://www.hblb.org.uk/release/679