British racing welcomed today’s confirmation by the European Commission (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEX-17-1062_en.htm?locale=en) that new legislation to extend the Horserace Betting Levy to all betting operators accepting bets on the sport – already cleared by the UK Parliament – is in line with EU state aid rules.
Once the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) receive formal confirmation directly from the Commission – which is anticipated in the next few days – it is expected that the Government will confirm the effective date of the new Levy.
Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said:
“With the final, outstanding approval now secured from the European Commission, today marks one of the last few steps in the process of securing a fair return from all betting on our sport. We look forward to receiving confirmation shortly from Government of when the new legislation will take effect.”
“We look forward to working closely with bookmakers to build an exciting future for both our industries. The new Levy has the potential to put an end to unnecessary divisions between racing and betting as it creates a level playing field, removes the need for annual negotiations on the rate and provides long-term certainty for both parties.”
Notes to editors
- The European Commission press release can be read here.
- The full text of the House of Commons and House of Lords debates on the Horserace Betting Levy Regulations 2017, which received cross-party support, can be read here and here.
- The Horserace Betting Levy was introduced in 1961 and is paid by bookmakers for the purposes of aiding the horseracing and equine sector, recognising the mutual interest racing and betting share in a thriving racing industry. The rapid growth of online betting activity, much of which is located offshore, has seen the Levy yield decline from over £100 million annually in the last decade to less than £50 million
- Wider changes to the Horserace Betting Levy, including the replacement of the Horserace Betting Levy Board with a new, tripartite Racing Authority to distribute funds, will be implemented in due course.
- The Authorised Betting Partners (ABP) scheme will cease operation from the commencement date of the new Levy, as all betting operators will be paying Levy on a statutory basis. British racing is extremely grateful to ABP operators for their contributions to the funding of British racing in the interim period over the last 18 months, recognising the two industries’ mutual interest in a sustainably funded horseracing product.