The British Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has invited bookmakers to consider whether to maintain or revise their monthly levy payments, after forecasting better-than-expected income since the resumption of racing.
Contributions agreed from May 2020 were finalised before racing resumed following its novel coronavirus (Covid-19) shut-down and will, according to the HBLB, amount to approximately £65m (€71.9m/$84.8m) until HBLB’s year-end on 31 March 2021.
However, the HBLB said that based on activity in the first three months since the resumption of racing in England on 1 June, it forecasts this total rising to around £70m, thanks to higher payments from operators.
British bookmakers make monthly payments to the HBLB based on estimating profits from racing, which is then reconciled with the actual profits at their fiscal year-end.
HBLB chief executive Alan Delmonte said that payments from bookmakers helped to maintain the organisation’s cashflow during the Covid-19 crisis, and this in turn allowed the board to make above-average contributions to racing to support the market’s recovery.
This included an additional £3.2m in immediate and short-term funding, as well as a Covid-19 loan support scheme.
Delmonte added that by presenting more current figures – something he said the larger bookmakers already do – this will help the HBLB to more accurately plan its budget for the coming year.
“Given we have now had three months of racing, each levy-paying bookmaker has been asked whether they wish to maintain their current level of payment or adjust it to reflect their own expected levy liability for the year as a whole,” he said.
“The purpose of doing so is to give the board a fully-informed understanding of anticipated income as it begins to consider its expenditure budget from January 2021.”