The Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has unveiled a second round of proposals related to the Horserace Betting Levy reform. However, the measures proposed by the DCMS which also include the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) closure, may face political opposition.
The Department saw the first stage of the latest levy reforms come into force back in April 2017, when the European Commission cleared the way for the reform. Under the horseracing industry amendment, the UK authorities were aimed to impose a new 10% tax levy on the operators that offer their horseracing services in the local market. The levy reforms were also aimed at extending the funding mechanism to off-shore operators.
The 2017 general election, however, delayed the second stage of the horseracing levy reform which is expected to result in closure of the Levy Board and the removal of the Government’s powers in terms of these matters. It is the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) that is set to take over the levy collection powers under the provisions of the amendment. A new Racing Authority is also to be created in order to represent the industry players. Both the UKGC and the new Racing Authority are to be funded from the levy income.
Previously, the Government has revealed that one of the main reasons for the proposed changes in the horserace betting levy was to save the betting and horseracing industries some financial burdens, with such savings expected to provide annual savings of approximately £570,000. The total transition costs have been estimated to a little more than £1.52 million.
New Horserace Betting Levy Reform May Face Political Opposition
In order to officially come into force, the measures need to be put under close monitoring in both houses of parliament. However, the House of Lords may not leave the reform simply pass unchallenged.
As The Racing Post reported, Lord Lipsey who has been criticising the new levy implementation measures commented on the reform, saying that responsibility transfer from the Government and the existing Levy Board to the UK Gambling Commission was not necessary.
He further explained that the new powers of the UK gambling regulatory body could actually be beyond the statutory responsibilities of the Commission. Lord Lipsey also called the reform a “dubious measure” and said that such a thing would hardly be necessary at a time when the Government has already been preoccupied with Brexit issues.
The governmental Department has now released the consultation document proposing the use of a Legislative Reform Order for the suggested amendments to be brought to the administration of the Houserace Betting Levy. As mentioned above, the competent authorities revealed that their major goal was to reduce both the administrative and financial burdens imposed on the horseracing and betting sectors.
Anthony Huber has been a freelance author for two years. He is really interested in the gambling industry and he even has some experience as a freelance beta tester for a big software provider.