During a time when racing’s finances are under increasing pressure, there was some good news in Britain on Friday from the Levy Board with the prediction that the Levy income for the year which ended March 31, 2020, will be in the region of £97m. That figure, which is up on the previous forecast of £90m to £95m, is derived from provisional submissions to date from the majority of Levy-paying bookmakers.
“It is very welcome that Levy yield for the past year looks like being in line with if not just ahead of expectations. This removes one of the current uncertainties for us in our financial planning,” said Levy Board Chairman Paul Darling.
“I would like to thank all those bookmakers who have made timely returns to us in the current difficult circumstances and also to those whose voluntary monthly reporting of betting performance during the past year has enabled us to make forecasts with increased confidence and precision.”
With the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) currently working with the Racing Resumption Group in order to phase in a revised racing programme once racing can get underway again in Britain, any boost in potential prize-money figures will be welcomed across the industry. Racing was suspended in Britain on March 17 and the country remains in lockdown with no specific date announced by government for the easing of those restrictions. The BHA has therefore been unable to specify a date to restart racing, though it is has tentative plans in place for a May 15 resumption.
Darling added, “This additional revenue will be built in to our modelling as we now focus on the contribution that the Levy Board can make at the point that racing fixtures resume in line with government requirements and guidance. These discussions are ongoing with the key parties involved.
“We understand the particular importance of Levy Board funding at this time. We expect to be making a greater than usual contribution to prize-money as and when racing resumes, albeit that we must do so on a financially responsible basis in recognition of the wider uncertainty around our own ongoing future income.”