Will Hill and Betfair About to Have a Judicial Clash

UK Court to Decide About Horse Racing Levy

Two major gambling competitors, William Hill plc and Betfair plc, intend to clash in the UK courts regarding the Horse Racing Levy following a bid that the latter's customers should contribute to it, the Telegraph newspaper reported over the weekend.

As per the last year's ruling issued by the Horserace Betting Levy Board, punters using betting exchanges should not have to contribute financially to the sport.

However, Will Hill, relying on the British Horseracing Authority, is questioning this decision reached by the government body.

It is worth noting that Betfair already sets aside substantial amounts of money for the levy in a voluntary initiative.

Betfair's interim chief executiveStephen Morana said he is confident that the ruling by the Horserace Betting Levy Board last year would be confirmed.

As per the newspaper, next week's judicial review is the sequel of a long-running battle between traditional UK bookies and Betfair's betting exchange business model as per which the punters place bets with other users who hold the opposing view and Betfair takes a slice as commission

The opponents argue that this model attracts professional gamblers whose betting volumes are so high that they should be licensed and taxed in the same manner as traditional bookies.

All bookmakers holding UK licences make a mandatory financial contribution to support horse racing in Britain, but though both Betfair and Will Hill are licensed in Gibraltar, Betfair voluntarily contributs towards British horse racing - last year it amounted to ca. GBP 6 million. The company's argument is that its customers are individuals and not businesses, and should therefore not be required to pay horseracing levy.

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