Lawyers warn operators over race betting levy

This system will replace the Horserace Betting Levy that’s currently in operation.
This system will replace the Horserace Betting Levy that’s currently in operation.

They said that there could be legal obstacles before they can fully celebrate the measure.

UK.- Earlier this week, the Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage, Tracey Crouch, confirmed that British operators will need to pay an extra 10 percent of the race betting revenue to the UK racing industry. Olswang’s betting and gaming team warned operators that there’s a possibility that they would need to go through some legal steps before April.

The new measure will apply equally to betting operators on-course, off-course, online, pool betting operators, spread betting lines, retail and betting exchanges. This system will replace the Horserace Betting Levy that’s currently in operation in the UK, and from early 2018, the UK Gambling Commission will be the body responsible for collecting the new fees. Officials from Olswang said that the UK government based the decision on a ruling by the European Commission regarding the French horse racing levy. They believe that there could be serious questions about the compatibility of both markets.

“There are serious questions as to whether the levy is compatible with the right to free provision of services,” they said, and they questioned the Commission’s function: “It is not at all clear how any of (the Commission’s licensing objectives) allows the collection of the levy… And in any event, even if the legal basis did exist to confer these collection powers on the Commission, is it right for tax collection and regulation to be undertaken by the same entity?” They also said that this further addition to the ever-increasing cost of the racing product for bookmakers may well accelerate the steady decline in racing’s share of the betting pound.