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HBLB expects levy income to surpass forecasts in 2022-23

| By Robert Fletcher
Britain’s Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has forecast £99.0m (€113.7m/$123.1m) in levy income for the 12 months to 31 March 2023, following provisional submissions from most levy-paying bookmakers.
Horse racing

The figure would surpass initial expectations of between £90.0m and £95.0m, which was based on events in the early to middle part of the year. It would also be 2.1% higher than £97.0m in the previous year.

HBLB said the increased forecast comes amid a continuing decline in turnover, which was being partially mitigated by margins. Actual margins were markedly above average in both February and March, during which turnover fell year-on-year.

“The board will be making decisions on prize money for the September to December period at its meeting next month and this likely outturn provides additional clarity in coming to those decisions,” HBLB chairman Paul Darling said.

“Although overall yield looks to be similar to or slightly up on last year, total turnover and race-by-race turnover are down overall and were consistently down from July to the end of the levy year.

“The board will need to consider carefully what assumptions to make about future yield given this trend.”

With this, Darling warned that bookmakers’ collective initial estimates for 2023-24 are for a materially lower yield than in 2022-23. 

Since the reform of the levy collection remit in 2017, HBLB recorded a mixed set of results, with these impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic that began in 2020.

The 2020-21 figure stood at £83.0m, with HBLB noting that no racing took place in the first two months of the levy year due to the pandemic.

For 2019-20, HBLB reported £98.0m in levy income, with 2018-19 at £84.0m and 2017-18 £94.0m.

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