Catch-all levy to leave racing odds-on for a £30m win

The government is to press ahead with the reform of the levy imposed on bookmakers to support horse racing in Britain.

Bookies taking bets on British racing will be subject to a levy of 10 per cent of their gross profits from both betting shops and online betting.

The present levy of 10.75 per cent applies only to high street bookmakers and racing has long complained that the surge in online bets has cut the amount of levy received.

The new system will come into force in April under a reformed Horserace Betting Levy. Tracey Crouch, the sports minister, said the levy had been in force since 1961 but was now “outdated”.

Responsibility for collecting the fee will be passed to the Gambling Commission next year, resulting in the winding up of the Horserace Betting Levy Board. Analysts estimate the total cost of the new catch-all 10 per cent rate at about £30 million, with Paddy Power Betfair liable for an extra £10 million, William Hill having to find another £6 million and Ladbrokes Coral an extra £5 million.

William Hill said: “We note the reference to the need for state aid approval, given the resulting increase in income to racing from the proposed levy changes. This follows a decade of increases in media rights income from the betting industry and William Hill will input to the process as appropriate.”