UK Authorities Announce Horserace Betting Levy Reform

Publish: 17.01.2017

In efforts to secure a just return to horseracing from bookmakers, the United Kingdom government has announced plans to introduce mandatory contributions from all major gambling operators, who face a 10% levy starting from April 2017.

The current regulation stipulates that betting companies based in the UK are required to pay the levy, which stands at 10% on the gross profits but on those above the first £500,000.

Under the new set-up however, all betting operators –  UK-based or offshore – will be charged the mandatory 10% levy in order to support the sport.

The betting firms welcomed the proposed regulation, but still claim such decision could cause intricate legal issues. Chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Nick Rust, claims the new betting levy expansion is of “critical” significance “to the future health of British racing”.

The government’s plans regarding the horseracing levy are facing a legal hurdle and possible delays if the changes to the current regulation are not concluded by April, having in mind that the new set-up is yet to go through the European Union state aid rules passing.

It needs to be taken into account that bookmakers had previously threatened to take legal moves against the levy extension plans in the past, but Clive Hawkswood of the Remote Gambling Association is explaining that such moves would be premature at this point, adding that it could take months before the levy process is completed with the EU clearance.

On the other hand, Sports Minister Tracey Crouch is convinced the proposed levy plans will be beneficial to the Horse Racing sport and that the government’s move only wants to make sure that all betting companies pay a fair return.

Changes to the current system introduced in 1961 are supposed to fund critical aspects of horseracing such as racing integrity, veterinary science, equine welfare and prize money among others.