Bookies back plan to update racing Levy

Bookies back plan to update racing Levy

Thursday, March 3, 2016 Totally Gaming
The RGA was among those to welcome the government's plan

The betting industry has vowed to work closely with the government after plans were unveiled for an update to the UK Levy system.

Culture secretary John Whittingdale today (Thursday) announced a dramatic target to replace the current betting system by April 2017, although few details were revealed. The move means the proposed ‘Racing Right’ outlined by Chancellor George Osborne has been scrapped, with the racing industry welcoming an updated Levy that would be funded from both retail and online sources.

Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), backed the scrapping of the ‘Racing Right’ plan and said he was eager to engage with all parties in formulating the new funding model.

“We very much welcome that change of approach, but until the government’s plans are further developed it is difficult to reach a clear view about their legality or viability,” he told TotallyGaming.com. “In the meantime we will of course continue to engage constructively with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as its plans evolve.”

David Williams, Ladbrokes’ director of media of Ladbrokes, echoed those sentiments, telling TotallyGaming.com that discussions must take into account the growing costs of betting operations.

Williams said: "We'll work with government to ensure they fully understand the net flow of funds from the betting industry to racing, not least through escalating media rights and streaming costs.

“We established the principle of payments on offshore betting with an offer last October which racing rejected; this move appears to enshrine that principle but the devil will be in the detail and many questions remain yet to be answered before we can fully understand the likely impact.”

British Horseracing Authority (BHA) chief executive Nick Rust said that “the new funding model will ensure a fair transfer of funding to British racing”, and described the announcement as “truly historic”.

Speaking about the change to the Levy, Whittingdale said: "Our aim is to introduce a new funding arrangement for British racing by April 2017. We will create a level playing field for British-based and offshore gambling operators, and ensure a fair return from all bookmakers to racing, including those based offshore.

"Racing will be responsible for making decisions on spending the new fund and we'll be making further announcements shortly."

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