British bookies invited to reevaluate horseracing levies

British bookies invited to reevaluate horseracing levies

The board responsible for betting levies has invited bookies to consider revising payments after improved income forecasts.

UK.- The British Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB), the body that administers the levies bookies pay to the sport, has invited bookmakers to reevaluate their monthly payments.

Bookmakers in Britain make monthly payments to the HBLB based on estimated profits from horseracing. Those payments are then reconciled with actual profits at the end of the financial year in April.

The current levies were set in May before horseracing meetings resumed following their suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since then bookmakers have seen a strong recovery of interest in betting on horseracing, leading some to forecast that income for the year will be much better than expected.

According to the HBLB, the current levies will amount to around £65m over the 12 months. Based on betting activity seen in the first three months since racing resumed on June 1, it now expects that around £70m will be due.

HBLB chief executive Alan Delmonte stressed that bookmakers’ payments had helped maintain the board’s cashflow during the pandemic crisis, allowing it to make contributions to help the sport’s recovery. This included a Covid-19 loan scheme for racecourses.

He said that by presenting updated figures, bookmakers could help the HBLB to plan its budget for the year.

Delmonte said: “Given we have now had three months of racing, each levy-paying bookmaker has been asked whether they wish to maintain their current level of payment or adjust it to reflect their own expected levy liability for the year as a whole.

“The purpose of doing so is to give the board a fully-informed understanding of anticipated income as it begins to consider its expenditure budget from January 2021.”

The British Horseracing Association said last month that the industry would push for levy reforms.

Crowds returned to British horse racing yesterday for the first time since the start of outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in mid-March. The first of a series of trial meetings with spectators got underway at the St Ledger Festival in Doncaster.

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