Sweeping Changes Proposed For UK Horse Racing Subsidy

UK government wants to do away with Horserace Betting Levy Board and empower the Gambling Commission to take up its responsibilities

Radical changes to the administration of the UK horse racing industry’s levy paid by bookmaking firms have been proposed by the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport in its second round of consultative proposals.

These include shutting down the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) via a Legislative Reform Order (LRO) which will transfer of responsibility from the HBLB to the Gambling Commission; the transfer of responsibility for expenditure decisions to the racing industry; and consequently the end of the Horserace Betting Levy Appeal tribunals.

Under the proposals the Gambling Commission will take over responsibility for collecting the mandatory levy from bookmakers, reducing administration costs in order to ensure that the bulk of the levy goes to the horse racing industry.

“In addition to increasing the amount of funding available to the horseracing industry, it is envisaged that transferring the collection function to the Gambling Commission will also provide opportunities to streamline processes for betting operators, thereby reducing the administrative inconveniences and financial costs for businesses of complying with the Levy,” the DCMS proposal suggests.

The proposal goes on to justify the need to let the British horse racing industry “decide on the allocation and distribution of Levy funds.”

Offshore bookmakers are included in the levy for the first time in the reforms so far.