The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has published its recovery plan for horseracing and it wants Levy reform to be part of measures to help the sport in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the points in the BHA plan states it wants:
To reduce the industry’s cost-base and be agile where new opportunities to increase revenue can be seized and mitigate the impact of recession, including the pursuit of immediate Levy reform.
Immediate work is being commissioned which will underpin the case for extending the Levy to bets on international racing. It is vital that there is a level playing-field with other countries where competing racing jurisdictions already receive this revenue.
Quoted in the Racing Post, BHA Chief Executive Nick Rust said:
“Covid and the international situation with Brexit means that we think it is the right time for government to support racing with a change on overseas levy.”
“We believe that can add £30-£40 million to income through the Levy Board, something like a 40 per cent increase.”
“Those monies would make a big difference in supporting our recovery plan and helping to ensure our sport remains as competitive as possible with our international competitors.”
Whilst racing in the UK ceased during the pandemic lockdown, it did continue in other jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong and Australia.
Betting shops were also forced to close in the UK and have only been able to re-open with hygiene and distancing measures in place.
Many shops, however, have not opened again. William Hill stated that 119 of its shops would remain closed. The company began 2020 with 1,533 betting shops, having closed 713 shops following the implementation of the stake limit on B2 machines.
GVC Holdings, owner of Ladbrokes Coral, had 3,006 betting shops at 30 June 2020, down 8% on the 2019 figure.