Bookmakers Renew Funding Deal For Horse Racing
Gambling companies will pay around £73M ($116M) to fund British horse racing next year after "agreeing to maintain the terms of an annual levy now seen as outdated and needing reform," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. The levy was established more than 50 years ago and was "designed to ensure that bookmakers helped to support the sport and reward horse owners with adequate prize money." The terms of the deal for '13-14 stipulate that bookmakers will hand over 10.75% of their profits from British racing. Britain's three largest high street bookmakers -- William Hill, Ladbrokes and Gala Coral -- "have agreed to contribute at least £45M ($72M) to the total levy." Also included in the sum is an estimated £7M ($11M) from betting exchange operator Betfair plus contributions from smaller betting firms. The racing and gambling industries are looking to move to a "more conventional commercial model whereby bookmakers agree to provide multi-year funding in return for a guaranteed number of races to be staged and agreed numbers of runners." Horse racing is Britain's second-most popular spectator sport behind football (REUTERS, 10/24).