British racing hailed an important milestone as the Levy Board announced that new legislation will take effect from 25 April 2017 to capture a return from all betting operators accepting bets on the sport by British bettors. This is one of a number of key enablers required to ensure the long term-health and growth of the country’s second biggest spectator sport which supports more than 85,000 jobs.

From 25 April 2017, all betting operators – whether they operate on or off-course, on or offline or on or offshore – will pay 10 per cent of their profits from British customers to British racing. The changes mean that the Levy will now capture online betting which is estimated to account for more than 50 per cent of all betting activity on the sport.

The increased receipts from the Levy will ensure that the central funding which is crucial to the sport will continue to support: 
Racing’s grassroots – improving prize money for participants to allow them to maintain their involvement in the sport, keep horses in training and improve the racing product
Jobs – help recruitment, retention and growth of jobs in racing and in the rural economy
Small businesses – by supporting the growth of the sport, help the future of small businesses such as farriers, vets, feed and equipment suppliers and many others
High standards of integrity in British racing – including anti-doping and anti-corruption measures
Participant welfare and training – including initiatives to support the mental and physical wellbeing of participants, and education and training opportunities for young people to become involved in the sport
The wider British horse sector – through veterinary science research and education funding, disease surveillance, and support for rare breeds societies
Parliamentarians in both the House of Commons and House of Lords overwhelmingly backed the new legislation at the end of last month with Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage Tracey Crouch MP saying that the legislation would “make a profound difference to the British racing industry and to the thousands of hard-working stable staff, jockeys and trainers and all those who make racing what it is today” while ensuring that British racing “can continue to be the home of the best quality racing in the world for years to come.”

In its clearance of the legislation last week as being compatible with state aid rules, the European Commission recognised “that it is essential for the improvement of horse breeding and horseracing without giving rise to undue distortions of competition” while creating “a level playing field among betting operators.”

Nick Rust, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said:

“Today is a very important day for British racing as the new Levy will make a significant contribution to securing the long term health and growth of our sport. While there remains much more to do in this regard, the levy replacement in itself is a huge achievement, and one that could not have been achieved without the determination and leadership demonstrated by Tracey Crouch MP and her team of dedicated officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Everyone in British racing owes thanks to her, and to the many supporters of our sport across and outside Westminster. We will be issuing further thanks to a number of key individuals over coming days.

“The new Levy is the clearest sign yet of the success which British racing can achieve when we work together. I would like to thank everyone in British racing who has helped deliver this, and to say a specific thank you to my Chairman, Steve Harman, who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes in representing our sport so effectively on this issue which is one of the sport’s key enablers for growth.

“British racing is keen to move forward with the betting industry to ensure that the sport enhances its position as a high-quality, attractive betting product.”

Philip Freedman, Chairman of the Horsemen’s Group, said:

“This is fantastic for all involved in British racing and beyond any doubt a massive boost for our horsemen. The reformed Levy will improve owners’ returns and investment, enhance breeders’ confidence to invest in bloodstock, and improve prize money for trainers, jockeys and stable staff to help them sustain a living in the sport, following many years of downward pressure.

“The wider horse sector across Britain will also benefit from the increased activity a thriving horseracing industry will bring to the rural economy.”

Stephen Atkin, Chief Executive of the Racecourse Association, said:

“British racecourses are delighted with the completion of this much-required extension of the Levy and the improvement it will bring to the funding of British racing from betting activity. Racecourses make a significant contribution to the economy as employers and visitor attractions across the country, and communities the length and breadth of Great Britain will be key beneficiaries of thriving racecourses supported by crucial Levy funding.

“A key partner moving forward will undoubtedly be the betting industry and all parties in British racing are committed to working with betting to ensure that we can provide a popular, well-regulated and socially responsible product across our 60 racecourses.”