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Horserace Betting Levy

Volume 603: debated on Thursday 3 December 2015

On 4 November 2015 the Chair of the Horserace Betting Levy Board (“the HBLB”) informed me that the HBLB had been unable to approve a recommendation from the Bookmakers’ Committee as to the terms of the 55th levy scheme. Under section 1(2) of the Horserace Betting Levy Act 1969 (“the Act”), it therefore now falls to me to determine those terms. The Act allows me to determine a new scheme for the said period or direct that the current scheme shall continue to have effect for that period.

I have decided to direct that the current levy scheme should continue to have effect for 2016-17. In making this determination I have had regard to the offer made by the Bookmakers’ Committee, which also proposed that the headline rate of 10.75% was maintained for another year. I also took into account the reason why the offer was rejected by the HBLB, which is that racing felt that it could not accept the overall proposed package, which included supplementary contributions outside of the statutory levy.

Any discussions or negotiations about voluntary levy contributions in respect of offshore remote betting operators are outside the scope of my statutory role in making this determination. I am aware that such negotiations took place and several bookmakers had undertaken to make wholly voluntary levy contributions, which would have secured additional funding for racing for the next three years, and I welcome this offer. With the statutory levy rate now set for next year, I hope that these discussions continue and that an agreement can be reached.

Having concluded the determination I would like express my disappointment that the HBLB and Bookmakers’ Committee were not able to agree the levy scheme and that it has been necessary to refer this matter to Government.