This Library briefing paper looks at changes to the Horserace Betting Levy.Jump to full report >>
The Horserace Betting Levy is collected by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) from the gross profit of betting on British horseracing. The money raised from the Levy is applied for one or more of the following purposes:
The Levy raised £95m in 2017/18.
Extending the Levy
Until April 2017, the Levy did not extend to overseas betting operators. The British Horseracing Authority estimated that this cost the industry over £20 million annually in lost Levy receipts.
The Horserace Betting Levy Regulations 2017 came into force on 25 April 2017 and extended the Levy to all gambling operators offering bets on racing in Great Britain. The basis on which the Levy is calculated is now a fixed rate i.e. 10% of profits on leviable bets which exceed £500,000 in a Levy period (1 April to 31 March in any given year).
The revised Levy arrangement required state aid approval. This was received from the European Commission on 21 April 2017.
Administering the Levy
The Government wants to make changes to the Levy to "reduce financial and administrative burdens on the betting and horseracing industries". The changes will involve:
A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consultation on using a Legislative Reform Order to make the changes ran from 21 December 2017 to 16 February 2018. After analysing the responses, the Government decided to proceed with its plans. The draft Legislative Reform (Horserace Betting Levy) Order 2018 was laid before Parliament on 9 October 2018.
If approved, the Government's changes to the Levy would have taken effect from 1 April 2019. However the draft Order was considered by the House of Commons Regulatory Reform Committee and the House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. In reports published in December 2018, both Committees criticised the Government’s use of delegated legislation and said that primary legislation should be introduced instead.
In response to a December 2018 Lords question, the Government said that it was carefully considering the Committee reports.
Commons Briefing papers CBP-7368
Author: John Woodhouse