BGC members make record racing levy contribution of £105m

Operators improve collective levy return by £5m in 2023-24 as government continues to evaluate the pros and cons of a turnover, rather than profit-based model
The post BGC members make record racing levy contribution of £105m first appeared on EGR Intel.  

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) is expected to receive a record contribution of £105m in levy payments from Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) members for last year.

The figure represents a £5m increase on the previous year’s payment, with the additional funding from bookmakers allowing the HBLB to increase its prize money contribution for 2024 by £3.2m, taking the overall total to £70.5m.

For the third successive year, levy contributions have increased, from £97m in 2021-22, to £100m in 2022-23 and now £105m for 2023-24.

This increase comes after the BGC noted horseracing betting turnover for April 2023 to December 2023 was down 17% compared to the average for the equivalent period over the last five years.

Michael Dugher, BGC CEO and acting chair, praised the positive impact bookmakers have on the sport, insisting British horseracing would struggle to survive without betting.

He said: “This record contribution to the levy is extremely welcome news and demonstrates once again the enduring, mission-critical support regulated betting provides British horseracing.

“Despite a double-digit decline in horserace-betting turnover over the past five years – and a double-digit decline in racecourse attendances – this shows that levy contributions and prize money are both up, and it once again provides a timely reminder that racing could not survive without the record financial support that is flowing from betting.”

The statutory levy within horseracing currently sits at 10% of bookmakers’ gross profits on British racing above the first £500,000, with the government currently exploring a potential change to the model.

However, although mandating an increase on the current 10% could still be an option, the government are also evaluating whether to switch to a model based on betting turnover from British racing, rather than the existing system based on operators’ gross profits.

Both the BGC and the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) are working together alongside the government to resolve a settlement on a new voluntary levy to support horseracing. 

Earlier this month, the BGC introduced a voluntary code of conduct on affordability checks. The code raises standards, while also ensuring there is less need for operators to request private financial documents from customers. 

BGC’s voluntary code shows the government had “listened to racing’s long campaign against affordability checks,” according to BHA CEO Julie Harrington, after the association had given its backing to the BGC’s new measures.

Harrington also made clear that the BHA will work with the government towards reaching a guarantee that the new levy will protect the sport’s future in this country.

She explained: “We will continue to work collaboratively with the Secretary of State Lucy Frazer and [Gambling] Minister Stuart Andrew to secure a review of the levy that delivers a sustainable funding model for Britain’s second most-watched sport, safeguarding thousands of jobs and an economic lifeline in Britain’s rural communities.

“It remains our belief that the simplest way to do this is to increase the basic rate of levy and include bets taken on overseas racing to put our sport on a level playing field with other jurisdictions.”

The post BGC members make record racing levy contribution of £105m first appeared on EGR Intel.

 

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