EC endorses reform of UK’s Horserace Betting Levy scheme

The European Commission has endorsed a reform of the existing UK Horserace Betting Levy scheme as in line with EU state aid rules. The reform will subject off-shore bookmakers to the levy whereas currently only bookmakers based in the UK contribute to the financing of horse racing. It will establish a 10% levy on the Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) applied to all betting operators for their part of the GGY above a de minimis threshold of £500,000/year.

The Commission states that:

  • it has approved the measure because it recognises that it is essential for the improvement of horse breeding and horseracing without giving rise to undue distortions of competition, and
  • the measure also creates a level playing field among betting operators while at the same time supporting entry of new operators and the development of competition between betting operators, thanks to the de minimis threshold.

This decision by the European Commission will apply until the UK ceases to be a member of the EU.

We have reported previously on the reformed levy. More detailed background information is available within a House of Commons Library Briefing Paper on the Horserace Betting Levy, published last month, that can be downloaded below.