A consultation on modernising the horserace betting levy has been published, Sports Minister Helen Grant announced today.
The Levy is collected from the profits of betting on horseracing and is used to improve the sport and the breeds of horses as well as funding veterinary research and education.
The current system has been criticised in recent years for being out-of-date and in need of reform.
The 10-week consultation asks for views on two options: reforming the existing levy and replacing it with a bespoke statutory framework.
Helen Grant said:
Horseracing and betting have grown together over the last 200 years with each helping to shape the other. They have a unique and entirely interdependent relationship.
The levy is a fine idea that helps maintain the health of the sport but it is not working as well as it should.
It urgently needs to reflect the modern reality of horseracing and betting and the consultation will help us determine how best to bring it up-to-date.
Under the current system, the Bookmakers’ Committee recommends an annual levy scheme to the Horserace Betting Levy Board, which they can either accept or refuse. If they cannot agree, the Culture Secretary makes the decision.
The government has ruled out keeping the levy unchanged as there are too many issues with it. Scrapping it without any replacement has also been ruled out as those benefiting from betting on horseracing should contribute to it.
The government does not prefer either reforming or replacing the levy at this point. There are no plans to extend the levy to other sports.
The Chancellor announced in this year’s Budget the government would carry out two consultations on the levy. The other was on how to extend the levy to offshore bookmakers and this consultation has now closed.