The Horserace Betting Levy Board has today released its 2016/17 Annual Report which includes the audited accounts for the year.

Paul Lee, in his Chairman’s Statement, notes that:

• The new Horserace Betting Levy Regulations 2017 came into force on 25th April 2017. 
• A significant increase in future Levy yield is anticipated now that the new legislation is operative.  
• The Levy Board will be doing everything it can to collect the Levy due from all bookmakers due to pay it. 
• Government’s setting of the rate of Levy payable, subject to a review within seven years, removes a great deal of uncertainty that has surrounded this matter.
• The Board has been able to hold its 2017 distribution budget, including the contribution to prize money, at the same level as in 2016, a level significantly greater than five years before.
• Total income under the statutory Levy Scheme fell from £54.5m in 2015/16 to £49.8m in 2016/17.
• Taking into account non-statutory contributions of some £14m from certain bookmakers, the Board incurred a deficit for the year of £7.5m.
• The Board will continue to assist Government, Racing and Betting to enable a smooth transfer of functions to the Gambling Commission and a newly created Racing Authority.  

Paul Lee said:

“Congratulations are due to all those in Government and Racing who worked to achieve an extension of the Levy to bookmakers based outside Britain. This has been regarded, including by the Levy Board itself, as a long-running issue to be addressed.

“The Levy Board’s staff have been exceptionally focused in meeting the challenges before them this year, including in providing detailed background information and assistance to Government where necessary.

“The Levy Board team have set up effectively and quickly the necessary collection mechanisms required under the new arrangements and I am very pleased to report that income is now flowing to us as we had hoped and worked to achieve.

“All things being equal, this should make possible an increase in expenditure in 2018, including to prize money.

“We will continue to work with DCMS and others on achieving a smooth transition to the transfer of the Board’s functions elsewhere, recognising that, until those transfers take effect, the Board retains its statutory responsibilities and must be appropriately resourced to carry these out.”

The Report describes the Board’s activity for the past twelve months as well as setting out the full audited accounts.

The Report also notes that in 2016 the Levy Board supported the Point-to-Point Authority’s new promotional support proposals for 2016. The Board recognises the strong links between Point-to-Pointing and National Hunt racing in terms of the career development of young riders and horses and providing an appropriate second career option for jump horses.

2016 also saw the launch of EquiBiosafe, the mobile app version of the HBLB Codes of Practice and including the National Trainers’ Federation’s own codes for training yards. The app is available free of charge to any user and will help to promote good biosecurity practice throughout the equine world.