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BHA insists levy reforms are legally robust in face of opposition

Will Lambe: '"exhaustive consultation throughout"
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The BHA has said it is confident the second stage of the government's levy reforms will go through unhindered despite them being described as "illegal and ill-judged" this week.

Having extended the levy to operators based offshore for the first time in April, the government launched a consultation in December on the second stage of the process that would abolish the Levy Board, with the Gambling Commission taking over its collection duties and a new Racing Authority, representing the sport's main constituents, in charge of distribution.

However, Labour peer Lord Lipsey and Conservative MP Philip Davies, in their submission to the consultation seen by the Racing Post, questioned whether the Gambling Commission was an appropriate body to take over those collection duties and even questioned whether the Levy Board should be abolished.

'Material benefits will flow'

In response, BHA executive director Will Lambe said: "The proposals contained in the current consultation are the final measures of a government process that stretches back a number of years, with exhaustive consultation throughout.

"They have full policy justification, we are confident they are legally robust, and we are clear that a number of material benefits will flow to the racing and betting industries from the more direct partnership that we are able to forge with bookmakers. We also look forward to strengthening our working relationship with the Gambling Commission further."

Lipsey and Davies have voiced their opposition to the government's levy reforms before, saying they preferred a commercial arrangement between betting and racing.

Lambe added: "The forthcoming legislation will not represent the first time we have disagreed, respectfully, with Lord Lipsey and Philip Davies on these matters, but it will hopefully represent the last.”

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The forthcoming legislation will not represent the first time that we have disagreed, respectfully, with Lord Lipsey and Philip Davies
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