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Prize-money to rise by £8.2m

The Levy Board has agreed in principle to increase its prize-money contribution by more than £8 million in 2018.

The boost follows the government's introduction of reforms to the levy system that took effect in April and thatlook set to result in an increase in annual income of 70 per cent to around £85m after they brought betting operators based offshore into the levy net.

Racing plans to use the extra prize-money to boost the grassroots of the sport in Britain that– with efficiencies elsewhere including race divisions being funded by tracks plus increased racecourse contribution – the BHA hopes could provide benefit to the tune of £11m.

The board's approval of racing's proposal for extra prize-money means the allocation process to individual racecourses can begin.

However, the window for a legal challenge to the European Commission's decision to allow the government's reforms on state aid grounds does not close until November.

Levy Board chief executive Alan Delmonte said: "The board has approved in principle proposals from racing for an extra £8.2m for prize-money in 2018. This would take our contribution to around £57m and our total expenditure to £81m.

"The detailed racecourse by racecourse allocation process can now begin and the plan is that budgets can be confirmed formally at the board's November meeting.

"That meeting will also consider whether additional expenditure should be made in other areas next year. The board continues to adopt an income estimate of £85m in the year to March 31 2018."

The window for a legal challenge to the European Commission's decision opened in August and the fact that the Levy Board has agreed in principle to the increase in prize-money suggests no operator has tried to overturn the decision yet.

Delmonte added: "By the time of the November meeting it will be known as to whether there have been any objections made to the European Commission's clearance of the levy reforms that took effect in April 2017. Our understanding is that the deadline for submissions is a few days before that board meeting."

28 September 2017

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