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Parliamentary committees to scrutinise racing levy changes

| By iGB Editorial Team
Government proposals include shifting more powers to the Gambling Commission

The UK government’s plans to change how the horserace betting levy is collected and distributed have hit a stumbling block after it was revealed that committees from both houses of the UK Parliament are to scruitinise the plans.

The regulatory committees of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords will meet Wednesday (November 21st) to run the rule over the proposals.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has already set out its intention to abolish the Horseracing Betting Levy Board and move its powers to the Gambling Commission and Racing Authority, a body representing the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen’s Group.

According to the government, this will help save on administration costs and also free up additional funding for the British horseracing industry and overall horse welfare.

However, the move could be halted after the House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee (DPRRC) flagged up a number of concerns with the Order.

The DPRRC said it is uncertain about the appropriateness of the draft Order and whether it would pass a number of statutory tests in order to pass into law. The committee will now meet with the House of Commons Regulatory Reform Committee (RRC) to air its concerns.

Mims Davies, the new Minister for Sport, and other officials from the DCMS will speak at the meeting in Westminster.

This means the draft Order will be subjected to “super-affirmative procedure”, whereby Ministers must consider proposals from both committees before they decide whether to proceed with the proposed changes.

“The DPRRC has reported that it has concerns about this piece of legislation and welcomes the opportunity to join with the House of Commons Regulatory Reform Committee to subject it to the further scrutiny we believe it requires,” the committee's chairman Lord Blencathra commented.

Stephen McPartland MP, chair of the Regulatory Reform Committee, added: “The government’s proposed changes could alter how horseracing is funded and change the racing and gambling industries that underpin the sport.

“Bringing together our committees adds to the quality of scrutiny, holding the government to account and ensuring legislation is effective, appropriate and works for all.”

Both the DPRRC and RRC have responsibility for scrutinising Legislative Reform Orders, government proposals to amend primary legislation to remove or reduce burdens or promote better regulation.

The committees will put the proposals to a number of tests – as set out in the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 – after which they can establish whether secondary legislation is required.

Neither the DPRRC nor RRC responded to requests from iGamingBuiness.com to comment on the story.

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