Welcoming toda?_x0019_s Home Office announcement on the sale of the Tote to Racing and the abolition of the Levy, BHB Chairman, Peter Savill, said:
“The Government is to be congratulated on moving so quickly to abolish the Levy System. It has been one of my key objectives since I became Chairman of the BHB to encourage Government to withdraw from the commercial side of racing. That they have agreed to transfer the Tote to Racing and abolish the Levy is evidence of the faith that they are putting in Racing and in particular the BHB. It is especially pleasing that the Government has recognised the maturity of the racing industry and its Governing Body.
“I welcome the Government’s request for the BHB to prepare a realistic plan to show how Racing would operate without a statutory Levy. I am confident that the BHB can lead the industry to secure the financial health of Racing in the 21st Century, with all sections of the industry working with and through the BHB.
“We are in the midst of the most important time for Racing since the legalisation of off-course betting in 1961. It is critical that we ensure that the commercial arrangements that are put in place are ones which are enduring and which enable both the racing and betting industries to develop in these changing times. I shall be looking to meet with the betting industry for preliminary discussions as soon as possible.
“In the next few years new arrangements for media rights and new contractual arrangements between Racing and betting will be put in place. It is BHB’s responsibility to assist in the maximisation of these income streams and to ensure that they flow properly through the industry so that we maintain our position as a pre-eminent racing nation.”
BHB Chief Executive, Tristram Ricketts added:
“The sale of the Tote to a Racing Trust, rather than to outside commercial interests, will safeguard a vital source of income for Racing while also allowing the Tote to operate in a wholly commercial manner.
“The Racing Trust proposal put forward last November has the unanimous support of the racing industry and the Tote Board and we now look forward to constructive discussions with Government on the key issues which remain to be determined, particularly the price to be paid for the Tote, the terms of the exclusive licence and the timing of the necessary legislation.
“If the Tote is to remain competitive and fulfil its principal objectives, it is essential that the price is set at a level which does not jeopardise either the ability of the Tote to invest in its future growth or the Tote’s contribution to Racing.
“While recognising the pressure on the Parliamentary timetable, we are also anxious to ensure that there is no undue delay and that the period of uncertainty for the Tote and its staff is kept to an absolute minimum.”
For further information, contact: Tristram Ricketts on 0207-343-3304