For the first four months of 2021, the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has committed to providing £ 31.9 million in funding, continuing with the ‘significantly increased support’ it has provided since the resumption of racing in June 2020.
The donation would include £24.4 million, a 46 percent improvement on the usual amount charged by HBLB in this time, which will be reserved for prize money.
In addition, regulatory and other grants amount to £6.85 million, plus up to £650,000 for specific regulatory costs associated with ensuring conformity of the sport with existing protocols in staging fixtures.
Paul Darling, HBLB ‘s Chairman, said: “We are pleased to be able to sustain our significant support into 2021. This announcement is intended to provide clarity to the sport about prize money and regulatory grants through to next spring. The Board is particularly mindful of the delay in the return of paying spectators at fixtures, which will continue to affect the ability of racecourses to make their usual prize money contributions.
“The combination of encouraging levels of betting activity since June, our existing level of cash reserves and the modelling for the rest of the Levy year have given us enough confidence to agree this package. Our financial outlook would need to worsen significantly in the coming months to cause us to revisit what we are announcing today. However, the wider national situation, including the impact on Licensed Betting Offices, will inevitably require ongoing consideration.
“I would again like to thank those bookmakers who have continued to provide us with betting data that has allowed us to assess actual Levy performance in quick time, which has been crucial in our modelling, and also those operators who have recently agreed to increase their monthly payments on account.
“As has been the case since June, this level of funding from the Board is unsustainable beyond the short-term. We continue to urge the industry’s constituents to work together on future plans, recognising that our contribution will have to return to more normal levels in due course.”
The HBLB has forecast that the Levy yield for 2020/21 would not be less than £ 75 million with contributions made by UK bookmakers. Nevertheless, the board expressed concern about the ‘changing wider situation and closures of Licensed Betting Offices’ that are likely to have a downward effect on Levy yield.