House of Commons Library

The Horserace Betting Levy

Published Thursday, February 22, 2018

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 improvement of breeds of horses
  • the advancement or encouragement of veterinary science or veterinary education
  • the improvement of horseracing

The Levy yield for 2016/17 was £49.8m. 

Extending the Levy (April 2017)

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 (SI 2017/589) came into force on 25 April 2017. The Regulations extend the Levy to all gambling operators offering bets on horseracing 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.

Consultation on changes to administering the Levy (December 2017)

The Government now plans to make changes to administering the Levy. The aim is to "reduce financial and administrative burdens on the betting and horseracing industries". The changes will involve:

  • Transferring responsibility for collecting and enforcing the Levy from the HBLB to the Gambling Commission
  • Transferring the responsibility for expenditure decisions and the distribution of the Levy to the racing industry. Levy funds will be passed to a nominated body which is representative of the British racing industry
  • As a result of transferring the above functions, closing the HBLB and abolishing the Horserace Betting Levy Appeal tribunals.

A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) consultation on using a Legislative Reform Order to make the changes was published on 21 December 2017. The consultation closed on 16 February 2018. The Government hopes to introduce the new system from 1 April 2019.




Commons Briefing papers CBP-7368

Author: John Woodhouse

Topics: Gambling, Sports and Olympic Games

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.