British racing has this evening taken a significant step towards securing the Levy replacement, following a vote in favour of the Horserace Betting Levy Regulations in the House of Lords, which has completed the Parliamentary process. This Statutory Instrument will enact the extension of the Levy to offshore betting operators that will ensure a fair, enforceable and sustainable return from all betting activity on our sport.
The draft legislation was debated by a Delegated Legislation Committee in the House of Commons on Monday where it received a unanimous vote in favour.
British racing has conducted a sustained campaign for a number of years for the principle of a fair return from all betting activity and the cross-party support these measures have received, in both Houses, is testament to the hard work of all stakeholders in these efforts.
We now await European Commission clearance as the final formal stage in the process which will secure the Levy replacement. Speaking at lastw eek's House of Commons Committee, debating the changes, Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage, outlined that:
"My officials have engaged extensively with the European Commission, and as a result I am confident that we will receive that clearance shortly. To be perfectly honest, we would not have introduced these regulations to the House if we did not have that confidence."
Lord Trees commented: "My Lords, I will try to be very brief as I am very aware of the time, but want to support these regulations, which simply extend the reach of the levy to include offshore betting and which, in my opinion, quite simply right a wrong. One of the major benefits of the levy in the past has been, as I hope it will be in the future, the support it gives to equine veterinary science, research and education. Here I declare an interest as a former head of a veterinary school. Over the past 15 years, something like £32 million has been contributed by the levy to research and education. It has led to real improvements in the health and safety of horses, to a reduction in injuries, and to the prevention of infectious disease and many other facets of ill health. It has also contributed to the education of equine specialists, ensuring that here in the UK we are a global leader in equine healthcare.
"I emphasise that that support is important because there are very few other sources of support for funding equine research. The research councils generally do not do it. In summary, this legislation corrects an unfair anomaly and makes eminent sense. By restoring and maintaining the support for equine veterinary research, education and disease surveillance, it will contribute widely to equine health and welfare in general. In particular, it will help ensure the health of the racehorses on which both the racing industry and, ergo, the racing betting industry depend."
Following the conclusion of the UK Parliamentary process to implement the extension of the Levy to offshore digital betting operators, Will Lambe, Director of Corporate Affairs at the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said: “Today, British racing has moved a significant step closer to achieving a fair, enforceable and sustainable return from all betting activity on the sport. This has been the result of a sustained campaign for a number of years.
“We appreciate enormously the support that Parliamentarians across the political spectrum have provided to our unique and multi-billion pound industry. Parliament has made clear its will that the funding of British racing should be supported by legislation that reflects fully today’s digital economy.
“We now await the anticipated European Commission clearance, as the final formal step in the process and which will secure the new Levy and have a transformative effect on our sport, in particular its grassroots and our tens of thousands of employees. We look forward to working with our partners in the betting industry and beyond to grow interest and participation in our sport.”
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