1st of November 2011 Author: Johnny Karp
Government intervention sought to be avoided this time
It is once again the time to determine the annual level of contribution to the British horseracing industry by UK bookies, and reaching an agreement on the matter has never been easy. However, things may be somewhat different this year, as negotiators decided to try and avoid government involvement, which was necessary last year because the two sides could not reach any agreement.
Namely, on Oct. 31, Jockey Club CEO Simon Bazalgette told delegates at a sport business conference that a deal could be close, which was partly confirmed by major bookmaker Ladbrokes whose statement also sounded hopeful:
"We are hopeful that an agreement will be reached without recourse to the minister. The gap between the two sides is not as sizeable as in previous years," a Ladbrokes spokesman said.
The past few years have not been very kind to racing, as the overall amount paid to it has decreased dramatically, thanks to the fact that many bookmakers decided to move their online operations offshore in order to avoid paying the levy on bets placed on British races.
On the other side, gambling companies have claimed that they now fund racing through additional channels, such as paying for television pictures and sponsorship deals.
At the moment, the government is in talks with both sides over establishing a viable alternative to the levy for the future.
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