10/14/09 – Online gambling group Sportingbet, which relocated to Jersey in the Channel Islands last year, has nevertheless volunteered to pay a levy to British horseracing's Levy Board.
There has been considerable acrimony over the amounts paid by UK bookies and the lack of support for British horseracing by offshore sportsbetting companies recently .
Sportingbet's voluntary contribution amounts to 10 percent of its gross profits on bets the company takes on British racing from British and European customers, with effect from August 2010.
Sportingbet's chief executive, Andrew McIver said: “An important part of our UK revenue is derived from British horseracing. We have recently set ourselves the goal of increasing this revenue stream and have stepped up our sponsorship activity in British racing.
“This equates to the statutory payments we would make if we were based in the UK and, as a mark of good faith, we are happy to go the extra mile in agreeing that the figures should undergo an audit.”
McIver revealed that the agreement has been approved following negotiations with the Racehorse Owners Association.
“We hope this will set an example to other bookmakers who are either offshore or are planning to take part of their business offshore." said ROA President Paul Dixon. "We should do everything in our power to support those bookmakers who support British racing.”
Levy Board chief executive Douglas Erskine-Crum praised Sportingbet, saying that the company had explicitly recognised the importance of British horseracing to its business model in undertaking to pay levy arising from bets taken on the sport.
“It is in the betting industry’s interest to develop this virtuous circle," he said. "We are continuing to work with government as it addresses the wider betting and gaming environment but, in the meantime, we welcome Sportingbet’s initiative and call upon all betting operators based outside Britain to adopt the same constructive policy.”
Sportingbet has also joined forces with the Racehorse Owners Association in a three-year sponsorship deal, which will give the company exposure at the ROA Awards evening at the London Hilton on 3 December this year.
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