Tuesday 4th August 2009

Bookmakers who do not pay the full Levy

Following recent betting industry announcements, the Chairman of the Levy Board, Robert Hughes has called for punters to think seriously whether it is appropriate for them to place bets with bookmakers with off shore operations who do not pay the full Levy on bets taken on British horseracing. Mr Hughes said;

“If these manoeuvres are an attempt simply to avoid UK tax and Levy, racing is the loser and sponsorship is absolutely no substitute. We shall be writing to all offshore betting operators who take bets on British horseracing, asking for their commitment, in writing, to pay the Levy, in full, on all the gross profits arising therefrom. We believe that offshore betting operators, including UK bookmakers with offshore facilities, may have a legal obligation to do this in any event. I would urge all punters with online and telephone accounts to check that their providers pay the full Levy on offshore operations. Ask them a straight question and get a straight answer. If they do not pay the full Levy, punters should ask themselves whether it is appropriate and in the interests of horseracing to place their bets with such operators. Similarly, race courses and media outlets should ask operators whether they pay the full Levy and consider whether it is in the interests of Racing to accept future sponsorship and advertising from any operator who does not give such a commitment. I welcome the Government’s decision to suspend additions to the White List pending a thorough investigation of the issues surrounding off shore operators. Anyone who has the interests of British horseracing at heart should ensure that any bookmaker they deal with in future pays the Levy in full, whether they operate on or off shore. Let us have no fatalistic hand wringing over this. The remedy is largely in our own hands.”