The controversial introduction of the Betting Right which aims to replace the UK’s 53 year old levy system to fund the horse racing industry may be contested in the European Parliament. Betting Right detractors may protest that the UK government and British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) may be in breach of interstate funding rules and policy.
The Betting Right has split the moods of the horse racing and sports betting industries. Its supporters claim that the new framework, which will extend the funding mechanism to remote operators as well, is much needed in order for British racing to grow and contribute further to the UK Economy.
However its detractors, which include the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), have stated that the policy will simply be “unworkable” for UK racing and its authorities.
The Betting Right is yet to be passed into UK law and there is no timeframe as of yet, despite its announcement in the Budget. The government has met criticism for its lack of detail regarding the policy’s potential framework. Furthermore media and racing commentators have stated that the policy will likely gain no traction due to the upcoming UK General Elections in May.
At present the little detail given on the legislation’s framework has only led to further questions regarding its potential implementation. Industry insiders have stated that the government has the difficult task of making sure that Betting Right is complaint with both national and EU state aid rules, in order for the legislation to progress. Previous attempts to replace the Levy, such as a database right, have also fallen foul in the European courts.