British Racing welcomes Budget announcement on the introduction of a Horserace Betting Right

18 Mar 2015 Financial/Political

Following the announcement by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP in today’s Budget that the Government will “support the British Racing industry by introducing a Horserace Betting Right”, British Horseracing Authority Chief Executive Nick Rust, speaking on behalf of British Racing, said:

“Today’s announcement is a welcome and tremendous boost for the tens of thousands of people across the country that derive their livelihoods from our sport. The Government, the Minister for Sport and Tourism Helen Grant MP and politicians from the major parties all recognise the importance of a fair and sustainable funding mechanism for British Racing.

“British Racing – its governing body, racecourses and horsemen – has a collective desire for a modern and direct relationship with the Betting industry, and believes that a Racing Right is the best solution to achieve this, and to secure the long-term prosperity of our sport and those within it. We are still in the situation whereby the vast majority of bets placed by punters outside of betting shops are making no contribution to the central finances of the sport. This is unsustainable, and there is recognition that this needs to change.

“We are extremely grateful in particular for the support of Helen Grant MP and Matt Hancock MP to help us reach this stage, as well as to all of those across the industry who submitted letters of support during the consultation period.

“The hard work will continue, throughout the forthcoming General Election campaign and beyond, and with the Betting industry, as we look to have a Racing Right introduced as soon as is possible. We remain committed to ensuring that a Racing Right works for all parties, and provides the right platform for the Racing and Betting industries to flourish together.”

Notes to Editors

1. The Chancellor announced in his Budget speech this afternoon that “… in the week after Cheltenham, we support the British racing industry by introducing a new horserace betting right.”

2. The reference within the Budget document itself is as follows:

“The government will bring forward legislative proposals to replace the 1963 Horserace Betting Levy with a new Horserace Betting Right. The new authorisation scheme will apply to all bookmakers, wherever located, who take bets from British customers on British racing and will be administered directly by the racing industry.”

The full documentation from the 2015 Budget can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/budget-2015-documents

3. A Horserace Betting Right would provide British Racing with the right to authorise all betting activity in return for the appropriate financial contribution from betting operators towards the administration, integrity and future development of the sport. It would be a bespoke solution to Racing and Betting, recognising the specific synergies between the two industries and replicating international precedents.

4. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has held three interlinked consultations within the last year on the funding of British Racing:

  • Extending the Horserace Betting Levy: a consultation on implementation – A consultation on the technicalities surrounding extension of the Horserace Betting Levy to offshore domiciled remote gambling operators, a loophole which is estimated to cost the British Racing £25 million annually, and rising.
  • Modernising the Horserace Betting Levy: a consultation on reform or replacement – A consultation on either reforming the Horserace Betting Levy, or replacing it with a bespoke, statutory framework between Racing and Betting, to provide a mechanism which is fair, enforceable, sustainable, legally sound and removes the Government as far as possible.
  • Horserace Betting Right: a consultation on potential structure and operation – A consultation on the detail of, and technicalities surrounding, potential replacement of the Horserace Betting Levy with a Horserace Betting Right.

5. Clive Efford MP (Lab, Eltham), Shadow Minister for Sport and Tourism has said that the British Racing industry makes a “fantastic contribution” to Britain and that “everything possible” should be done to secure a sustainable funding mechanism for the industry.

6. On a visit to Newmarket last month, Prime Minister David Cameron hailed British Racing as a “massive success story” and heard views on “how we make sure this great industry… goes from strength to strength.” The Prime Minister’s comments on British Racing can be read in full at: http://www.britishhorseracing.com/prime-minister-hails-british-racing-massive-success-story/