British govt confirm levy plans

Gerry Sutcliffe, minister for sport, has announced the 2008/9 Horserace Betting Levy plan will be set at the same rate as the current scheme.

Gerry Sutcliffe, minister for sport, has announced the 2008/9 Horserace Betting Levy plan will be set at the same rate as the current scheme.

As a result, most off-course bookmakers will continue to pay 10% of their gross profits on horserace betting towards the upkeep of the sport.

The Levy Board expect to collect between £90m and £100m from bookmakers in 2007/8 and a similar total should arise next year, subject to market conditions.

Sutcliffe said: “Despite thorough consideration I have not been wholly persuaded by the submissions of either the Bookmakers’ Committee or the British Horseracing Authority, nor have I been able to reconcile their starkly contrasting approaches.

“It is therefore my decision on this occasion to revert to the 46th Levy scheme (that of 2007/8), being the last occasion on which all parties achieved consensus, and to direct that this be rolled over into 2008/9.

“The determination concluded, I wish to add that it is a matter of serious regret to the Government that we have again found ourselves in the position of having to make a determination, when it would clearly have been more appropriate for the betting and racing industries to have agreed a suitable settlement between themselves.

“We have repeatedly encouraged the two industries to develop a modern relationship as business partners and move away from an adversarial approach.”

The Levy Board chairman Robert Hughes was delighted with the decision, adding: “I welcome the Secretary of State’s and Minister for Sport’s decision to roll over this year’s Levy Scheme for use again in 2008/09, adjusted as appropriate for inflation.

“This is the course of action I, and my two independent colleagues on the HBLB, recommended to him. The positions, on the issue of next year’s Levy, of the Bookmakers’ Committee and of racing were poles apart, and, in my view, this decision represents a realistic compromise under all the circumstances.

“I urge both sides to accept it with good grace and without legal challenge.”

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