Friday, March 4, 2016 : U.K. GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES REPLACEMENT OF THE HORSE RACE LEVY (Update)
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale outlines the plan to fellow parliamentarians.
Reports in The Telegraph Wednesday that the British government would announce a new funding system for horseracing today have proved correct.
On Thursday morning during a debate in the House of Commons, Culture Secretary John Whittingdale revealed that a new funding scheme will be replacing the controversial racing levy…and importantly will capture payments from both retail and online bookmakers, based on their profits from UK horse racing wagers.
Whittingdale gave a target date for the introduction of the new scheme as April 2017, and promised that it would create a level playing field for all operators, at the same time delivering funds needed by the horse racing industry.
Further announcements would be made as the scheme is developed, he said.
The Secretary's announcement was cautiously welcomed by the Association of British Bookmakers, who warned that the issue should not stand alone, and must be viewed against a backdrop of increasingly heavy taxation on UK-licensed firms.
The Association pledged to work with government and the horse racing industry on the "critical and so far undecided detail of the new system to ensure that any new levy is both fair to horse racing and the betting industry.”
In its statement, the Association noted that the horse racing industry has benefitted from betting and media payments that have grown by tens of millions of pounds in recent years, and that retail betting shops are struggling with the current 10.75 percent per annum contribution.
“Any new deal on levy has to be fair to betting shops and should be based on an accurate assessment of the level of subsidy required to support horse racing,” the statement observed.
The British Horseracing Authority was predictably pleased with the announcement of a new scheme, describing it as a great opportunity for racing and the betting industry to come together for the benefit of all.