In response to the Horserace Betting Levy Board statement on the launch of the betting exchange consultation process, British Horseracing Authority Chief Executive Nic Coward said:
“For many years Racing has been vociferous on the significantly negative impact exchange betting has on the Levy income into the sport. As long ago as October 2008 the Levy Board highlighted this general concern to Government, and we are pleased that the Levy Board is now dealing with the specific issue of people acting as “bookmakers” on exchanges and not paying Levy.
“We do not believe a consultation is necessary and would have preferred immediate action, but we understand the Levy Board approach and we will of course make a full contribution to the consultation. We would urge anyone who cares about the future of Racing to do this.
“Betting exchanges have revolutionised the market. Consequently, their impact is a primary concern to the future of the sport, as well as to the future of betting as a whole, and the relationship between the two sectors.
“To date these matters have not been looked at on a holistic basis. This must now change. We are confident that the Minister will want to address this as part of the “packaged” approach that he has committed to exploring, and which we fully support.
“Racing is on the receiving end of exploitation by the entire gambling sector, abusing every loophole available, to the detriment of Racing and those within the sport. A major sector of British life is in danger of being throttled.
“As one example, in 2009 Betfair made a ‘voluntary’ payment to the Levy Board. This year that contribution has disappeared.
“The Levy Board and Government have the power to take immediate action which will close these loopholes – offshore bookmakers who contribute nothing to the Levy, the situation whereby over 60% of shops avoid the full Levy under an out dated threshold system, non-payment of Levy on foreign racing in shops as was the case in the past, and the massive impact of exchange betting.
“These are only short-term solutions. We will continue to work with Government on a packaged approach to achieve mechanisms under which Racing is able to achieve its full value to betting and gaming operators. The 1960s Levy system is not fit for purpose in today’s digital economy.”