The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has announced that for the remainder of the year it would make a ‘substantial rise’ in its prize money, with allocations set to rise by 50 percent.
Since 1 June, HBLB has spent around 25 percent more than average on prize money, but from 1 September, this will rise even more over the next four months.
Paul Darling, Chairman of the HBLB, stated: “We are very pleased to have been able to agree to another rise in our prize money allocation for the rest of 2020 at what we recognise as a crucial time for the sport. Racecourses continue to operate with uncertainty as to when racegoers will be permitted to return in significant numbers. The knock-on reduction on their own contribution to prize money reinforces the importance of ours for owners and the sport’s participants. We intend that this substantial injection of funds will provide confidence and certainty.
“I would like to thank bookmakers generally, who have continued to provide us with timely payments on account, and in addition those operators who have shared with us weekly race by race betting data, allowing us to measure very quickly the performance of racing since resumption. This has been key in supporting our modelling and given us the ability to take decisive action.
“It must be emphasised, however, that our enhanced level of contribution to prize money cannot continue indefinitely. We are drawing significantly on reserves to make possible this exceptional level of support. We now urge Racing’s various parties to focus on developing a clear and sustainable position as regards prize money from early 2021, as we would anticipate our own contribution reverting to closer to its normal level at that time.”
HBLB is expected to contribute £26.6 million in prize money from 1 September to 31 December, an rise of 50 percent over the initial £17.7 million allocation. It comes as racing starts resuming a sense of normality with respect to fixture lists.
Of this number, £24.4 m will be paid as prize money with an additional £ 2.2 million projected for a re-established Participation Money Scheme, which allows awards for qualifying races down to 8th place.
Overall, HBLB prize money investment is estimated to amount to £49.4 million, 42 per cent more than the £34.9 million charged in the same timeframe in 2019, for the seven months after the race resumed on 1 June until 31 December.