HomeInsightsGovernment publishes Ministerial Statement on 56th Scheme

On 9 November 2016 the Chair of the Horserace Betting Levy Board informed the Government that the HBLB had been unable to approve a recommendation from the Bookmakers’ Committee as to the terms of the 56th Levy scheme. Under s 1(2) of the Horserace Betting Levy Act 1969, it therefore fell to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley, to determine those terms. The Act allows her to determine a new scheme for the said period or direct that the current scheme shall continue to have effect for that period.

In the March 2016 Budget, the Government set out a timetable for replacing the current Horserace Betting Levy by April 2017. Ms Bradley said that it remains the Government’s intention to replace the current Levy scheme by this date. However, until such time as the legislation has passed, the existing statutory requirements remain. Therefore her Determination for the 56th Levy scheme will only apply should the new Levy not be in place by April.

With this in mind, and having considered the arguments put forward by both betting and racing, Ms Bradley decided to direct that the current Levy scheme should continue to have effect for 2017/18. In making this Determination she had regard to the offer made by the Bookmakers’ Committee and took into account the racing members of the Board’s reasons for rejecting the offer. Any discussions or negotiations about voluntary Levy contributions in respect of offshore remote betting operators were outside the scope of her statutory role in making the Determination.

Having concluded the Determination Ms Bradley expressed her disappointment that the HBLB and Bookmakers’ Committee were not able to agree the Levy scheme and that it had been necessary to refer the matter to Government. To read the full Statement, click here.