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Racing’s annual Levy income forecast at £80million

Racing’s income from the Levy is set to be around £80m for the latest financial year – despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Levy Board has borne the brunt of funding prize money since last March, with racecourses unable to accept paying customers and high-street bookmakers closed for the large majority of time.

“There was no British racing for the first two months of the Levy year, and it was far from certain when racing resumed in June 2020 as to what the level of betting activity would be in the months that followed,” said the Horserace Betting Levy Board’s chairman Paul Darling.

“We have also seen licensed betting offices either closed completely for parts of the year or open with restrictions.

“Since June, we have attempted to balance on the one hand our desire to commit substantial extra support for the sport from our reserves with, on the other hand, the uncertainty around our own ongoing future income.”

The British Horseracing Authority views the forecast figure as a positive, especially taking into account there was no Grand National in 2020, and has pointed to the growing television audiences as another plus.

BHA executive director Will Lambe said: “Today’s news shows how racing continues to provide great excitement and entertainment to the public and is a fun and responsible way to enjoy betting.

“It’s a credit to the commitment and passion of all our participants and to the great stories that racing generates through our jockeys, trainers, owners and the staff who look after our horses.

“We thank all the media who have brought these stories to the British public over the last 12 months, including our racing channels and ITV sport.

“We thank the Horserace Betting Levy Board for the work it has done over the past year to support racing through this crisis, increasing its expenditure so that prize money levels could be maintained wherever possible, and providing additional funding to racecourses.

“We also thank our colleagues in the betting industry, who do so much to promote racing to their customers. These results demonstrate the potential for growing the public’s engagement in racing, the benefits this can bring to the tens of thousands of people employed in both our industries and to the country as whole, especially in rural economies.

“As British racing battles to recover from the financial impact of Covid, this is an encouraging moment as we strive to achieve better funding for our world-class industry, including a fair and sustainable Levy.”