The three leading bodies representing UK horseracing have agreed the structure of the Racing Authority, which is set to manage the distribution of the horserace betting levy from April 2019.
The Authority has been meeting in shadow form since August 2017, with former Conservative minister for sport Hugh Robertson appointed chairman in January, despite no formal structure for the body.
This has now been resolved, with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Horsemen’s Group, and Racecourse Association each appointing two members to its board. The six will be supported by two independent appointees, Robertson and a second individual who is yet to be appointed.
The BHA will be represented on the Racing Authority board by chief executive Nick Rust and chief operating officer Richard Wayman. The Horsemen’s Group will be represented by Julian Richmond-Watson, chair of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association and Charlie Liverton, chief executive of the Racehorse Owners’ Association. The Racecourse Association will be represented by chair Maggie Carver and CEO Stephen Atkin.
The Association will be tasked with implementing the policy and strategy for racing’s central funding, ensuring funds are distributed fairly and transparently. It will also devise ways to grow funding, and consult with the betting industry and other stakeholders on key matters relating to the growth of racing.
The Racing Authority has been created in what is being described as the second phase of the reform of the UK Horserace Betting Levy, which began in April 2017. The initial phase saw the Levy expanded to cover both online and land-based betting, with operators in both channels paying 10 per cent of profits from betting on UK racing back to the equine industry.
The second phase sees the body previously responsible for collecting and distributing the Levy, the Horserace Betting Levy Board, disbanded. The UK Gambling Commission will instead oversee the collection of the Levy, with the Racing Authority responsible for distribution.
In the short-term the Racing Authority will work alongside the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Levy Board and Gambling Commission to ensure a smooth transition to the new system.
“Today sees a significant step forward for British Racing,” Robertson said of the Racing Authority structure. “I have been very encouraged to see how well the Authority’s new Board is working together to agree spending priorities.
“We now have an intense period of work ahead of us as a new organisation to prepare for the formal transfer of responsibilities in April 2019, and we look forward to working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; the Horserace Betting Levy Board; the Gambling Commission and stakeholders throughout racing and betting in the coming months.”
The level of income from the 2017-18 Levy has not yet been announced, although it is expected to see more than £90m distributed to the equine industry.