Thursday September 1,2016 : BRIT HORSERACING REMAINS CONFIDENT ON NEW LEVY REGIME
BHA expects the industry to benefit by GBP 100 million when government introduces compulsory levy in April 2017.
The British Horseracing Authority has shrugged off speculation that the Brexit issue will materially effect the implementation of the proposed new government-enforced levy on internet and retail bookmakers who accept bets on British horse races.
Commenting that the government’s intention is “clear and unambiguous,” the Authority said that it remains confident that the proposed start date for the new regime of 1 April 2017 will be achieved, and that it hopes to benefit by at least GBP 100 million a year in direct funding from bookmaking companies.
The current voluntary levy system is about to be replaced after 50 years, and speculation was triggered by a Racing Post report that quoted figures from an as yet unpublished report commissioned by the government and compiled by Frontier Economics, a consultancy firm.
According to the Post’s report, the document examines a number of possible models for the new funding system, including an extreme case in which the bookies’ payments for media rights – such as live broadcasts of racing in betting shops and online – are taken into account, along with their racing sponsorship programme. That would, in the economists’ opinion, leave only GBP 10.4 million to be raised directly from betting.
The Guardian newspaper reported that the present levy system raised on average around GBP 100 million a year for British horseracing, but has been diluted as bookmaking companies moved offshore with the advent of online betting.
“We are working on the unambiguous and repeated government commitment that it will restore to racing a fair contribution from all operators, which has been lost to racing simply because of the shift towards offshore remote betting,” a BHA spokesman said Wednesday.
“The replacement of the current Levy is on track to take effect from April 2017. Work within racing is at an advanced stage on various fronts, including the formation of the Racing Authority to distribute the enhanced funding.
“Our own direct discussions with the European Commission have been very encouraging, including since the referendum, and we have had confirmation that this case has clear precedents, most recently in France, and will be dealt with as promptly as possible.”