The Racing Post is reporting that the government has published its initial ‘The Horserace Betting Levy Regulations 2017’, a draft legislation framework which could lead to the replacement of the existing levy system from this coming April.
At present the replacement of the levy does not require ‘primary legislation’ with its new provisions being written by a government ‘statutory instrument’ (subordinate legislation). In order for the new Levy 2017 regulations to progress the mandate must gain the consent of both Houses of Parliament.
In its primary function, new levy provisions will be extended to include UK operator remote betting operations which have been based offshore and so far been outside of existing legal order. UK racing expects the Levy 2017 to generate an extra £30-40 million for the sports funding.
The UK government has pushed for an outright 10% levy charge on UK racing gross profits, which will be applied to all bookmakers that generate £500,000 in racing bets. The Racing Post reported: “The government considered the betting industry’s commercial payments to the racing industry, including media rights, in arriving at the rate.”
Seeking to fulfil its mandate, the UK government has further notified the European Commission on 13 January of changes to the Levy System, in order to comply with European competition standards and fair business condition practices.
The UK government and racing stakeholders plan to have new regulations in place by 1 April, however, the levy will not come into force until that approval is granted. Should there be delays, the existing levy scheme will continue to run until a new system is settled.
Once implemented the new levy regulations will stand for a period of seven years until provisions can be reviewed by ministers.
From 2018 the UK Gambling Commission will be in charge of collecting all UK racing bookmaker duties, with a new Racing Authority set-up to monitor the sports funding decisions. These changes will be enacted by way of a ‘legislative reform order’ later this year.