Newly reformed levy could bring in £85m for racing this year
Early indications suggest income from the newly reformed levy could reach around £85 million in this financial year, an increase of 70 per cent on the yield from the previous statutory scheme.
The Levy Board met this week and has decided to maintain its expenditure levels through to the end of September as money has started to flow in from bookmakers under the new system.
However, the board reiterated its warning that it would have to consider its position on expenditure should a legal challenge to the new regulations be forthcoming.
In April the government pushed through long-awaited reforms of the levy – the sport's central funding system – which brought into the net offshore-based operators who had previously not had to pay the levy.
It was expected that the reforms would bring in an extra £30-40m per year for the sport.
With the most recent statutory levy for 2016-17 expected to raise around £50m, those expectations appear to be correct at this stage.
Levy Board chief executive Alan Delmonte said: "The board did not need to agree an income forecast for the full-year 2017-18 period but for indicative purposes looked at a range from the low £80m to £90m, settling on £85m for now.
"This will be updated in September in the light of trading information over the first few months of the year."
In recent months the Levy Board had had to postpone spending decisions on a number of occasions as it waited for clarity over the government's plans.
However, it has been able to plan ahead further following state aid approval from Europe for the government's plans and the beginning of payments from betting operators.
Delmonte added: "Generally speaking there is a positive position as regards cash flowing in from betting operators under the new levy regulations.
"The board approved expenditure for July 2017 at the same level as in 2016. The board also intends to maintain expenditure levels in August and September.
"However, in the event of any legal challenge to the new levy regulations, the board will consider the position with regard to expenditure in those months. The board will decide in September on expenditure in October to December."