Thursday, November 3, 2011 : This year's subsidiary is GBP72.4 million
Just inside the deadline for agreement the British horseracing industry and the nation's bookmakers agreed the annual levy this week, signing off on a deal worth GBP72.4 million to horseracing, which is suffering from low attendances and shrinking revenues.
Reporting on the agreement, the Guardian newspaper says that neither party wanted the interference of the UK government as happened last year, and this spurred negotiations to a compromise solution.
It is understood that the deal did not have the unanimous approval of Levy Board members, racing's representatives opposing it on the grounds that the final figure is too low.
"For the first time, it provides for a guaranteed minimum of income for racing, the big three firms and Betfair having committed to a base figure of GBP 45 million, though the scheme should provide GBP 72.4 million if projections prove accurate. That represents a small increase on the income from this year's scheme, according to the latest figures," The Guardian reported.
Nick Rust, managing director of Ladbrokes, told the newspaper: "This is a sensible compromise that offers progress to both racing and bookmakers. We now need to start work immediately on a long-term settlement that builds on this progress and takes government out of the process for good."
The agreement includes a provision through which racing is obliged to provide a minimum of 1,450 fixtures per year, a decision that will frustrate the British Horseracing Authority, which has been trying to reduce fictures to cope with declining income.
Ladbrokes' Ciaran O'Brien told the Guardian that the average number of runners per race had also been of concern to bookmakers, since races with fewer than eight runners attract less interest.