Wednesday March 18, 2015 : UK GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS HORSERACE BETTING RIGHT
To replace 1963 Horserace Betting Levy
The UK Government will support the replacement of Britain’s Horserace betting levy with a Horserace Betting Right (HBR), Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said in today’s UK Budget speech.
The BHR would replace the existing and historically contentious 1963 Horserace Betting Levy which financially supports the horserace industry in the country.
All bookmakers who take wagers from British punters on British racing will be affected by the introduction of the BHR which would be administered directly by the racing industry.
The move was welcomed by the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) chief executive Nick Rust who said in a statement:
“Today's announcement is a welcome and tremendous boost for the tens of thousands of people across the country that derive their livelihoods from our sport.
"The Government, the Minister for Sport and Tourism Helen Grant MP and politicians from the major parties all recognise the importance of a fair and sustainable funding mechanism for British Racing.
"British Racing – its governing body, racecourses and horsemen – has a collective desire for a modern and direct relationship with the betting industry, and believes that a Racing Right is the best solution to achieve this, and to secure the long-term prosperity of our sport and those within it.
"We are still in the situation whereby the vast majority of bets placed by punters outside of betting shops are making no contribution to the central finances of the sport. This is unsustainable, and there is recognition that this needs to change.
"We are extremely grateful in particular for the support of Helen Grant MP and Matt Hancock MP to help us reach this stage, as well as to all of those across the industry who submitted letters of support during the consultation period.
"The hard work will continue, throughout the forthcoming General Election campaign and beyond, and with the betting industry, as we look to have a Racing Right introduced as soon as is possible.
"We remain committed to ensuring that a Racing Right works for all parties, and provides the right platform for the racing and betting industries to flourish together."
But the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) question the workability of such a “right” saying it could “leave racing seriously underfunded for a considerable length of time”.
Hilary Douglas, campaign director for ABB responded in a statement that said:
"Unfortunately, we believe the Racing Right is unworkable and the detail will derail it, leaving racing seriously underfunded for a considerable length of time. It will be mired in legal and other issues for many, many years.
"Arguably the proceeds from the Right will not even be able to be distributed until legal certainty is obtained, with racing being the main loser.
"Our members already pay 10.75% of their gross profits from their UK horseracing business to racing and, together with media rights and sponsorship, the transfer from our members to racing is some £248m, an incredible amount that has to be enough.
"One has to ask where the £173m paid to racecourses for media rights goes?
"It is therefore incredibly disappointing that the Department for Culture, Media And Sport and racing appear to suggest 10.75% is a "low estimate" and that the impact assessment accompanying the consultation models a 50% GPT rate, an increase of close to 500%.
"We are concerned that the fact that racing has not sought to publicly distance itself from the modelled rates shows the very real danger of racing over-pricing the right resulting in yet more litigation.
"We do however believe in a continued sensible dialogue with racing to try and achieve a solution that meets the concerns of both these great industries."