Wednesday 20th February 2008

Response to 47th Levy Scheme Determination

Response by the Chairman of the Levy Board to the determination of the 47th Levy Scheme, 2008/09, by the Secretary of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Robert Hughes, the Chairman of the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB), said today:

“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.

“We expect to collect between £90m and £100m from bookmakers in 2007/08, and this decision should lead to an approximately similar total next year, subject to market conditions.

“While this determination will not provide the relief sought by some bookmakers from the new costs of the TurfTV service, it will represent Levy continuity during the coming months, as we seek to clarify the new company’s all-round impact on the finances of the Betting and Racing Industries.

“And although it will not meet the BHA’s aspirations for the Levy, it will enable the HBLB to plan our 2008/09 financial support for Racing so as to maintain stability, as far as possible.

“The Minister for Sport has urged the Betting and Racing Industries to use the period of stability that will result from his determination, to proceed to commercial negotiations. This must be with a view to reconciling their respective positions. I, and my HBLB colleagues, stand ready to assist in this process in any way the two parties believe may be helpful; also, I shall be happy to attend the meeting that the Minister for Sport is arranging to start this process.”