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UK Chancellor Reveals Project for Online Betting Operators to Pay More

George Osborne Racing Right tax

Implementing Racing Right to British racing could be the best solution to secure the long-term prosperity of the sport.

UK Chancellor, George Osborne used the opportunity during the 2015 Budget speech to reveal plans to implement a new Racing Right. This would see bookmakers paying for the right to accept bets on British racing under the new UK gambling law, in order to instill a more ‘modern and direct relationship with the betting industry’. The UK government recently adopted new regulations to tax online wagers on a point of consumption basis.

Under the new Racing Right, even those online racing companies, operating offshore would have to comply and transfer a part of their racing profits back to the sport. The UK has been operating under a Levy system, for more than 50 years, whereby money is given back to the racing industry from off-course betting. However, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has been lobbying for a Racing Right for several years, with the increase in online betting leading to many major gambling operators fleeing to tax free havens abroad.

Move could be boost UK racing industry

The BHA has responded positively to this idea. Nick Rust, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority stated that “The government, the minister for sport and tourism, Helen Grant MP, and politicians from the major parties all recognize the importance of a fair and sustainable funding mechanism for British racing”. There are speculations however that players indulging in mobile betting and other types of betting may have to pay higher betting fees too.

By doing so, these companies are dodging from paying betting taxes and the Levy obligations that would be attached to cash bets, wagered on UK high streets. However, the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) doesn’t agree with the new plans, pointing out that it is not feasible and that “Arguably, the proceeds from the right will not even be able to be distributed until legal certainty is obtained, with racing being the main loser.”

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