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Horse Racing: Betting

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 163714, tabled on 5 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Horseracing Betting Levy on the horseracing sector.

Answered on

15 March 2021

The Horseracing Betting Levy is collected by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) from the gross profit of betting on British horseracing. In April 2017, the government reformed the Levy to bring offshore bookmakers in scope for the first time and fixed the rate at 10%. This action reversed a steady period of decline in Levy income. Levy income for the last three years has been:

  • 2017/18 - £95 million

  • 2018/19 - £83 million

  • 2019/20 - £97 million

The HBLB supports racing through prize money grants to racecourses, which in turn supports trainers and jockeys. HBLB’s prize money grants normally account for around 40% of total prize money. It also makes payments to racecourses as a contribution towards race day services costs, paying for the majority of racing’s regulation and integrity costs. Other areas it supports include industry recruitment and training, education and the welfare of horses.

During Covid the HBLB has increased its contribution to prize money by 50%. It has also paid almost £3 million towards extra regulation costs that have been necessary to stage racing fixtures safely within the current Covid protocols.