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British bookmakers who do not pay an agreed levy contribution will be barred from sponsorship of races under new rules.

British racing has agreed a policy that will reward betting operators who pay the levy for their digital businesses or who have a commercial funding deal in place.

Betting operators deemed to have a “fair and mutually sustainable funding relationship with the sport” will officially be designated as “authorised betting operators”.

Arena and Jockey Club Racecourses, the two largest racecourse groups in Great Britain with half the tracks in the country – including Cheltenham, Aintree, Epsom and Newmarket – and operating nearly 60 per cent of fixtures, have chosen to independently support the process.

A statement said neither group would enter into any new commercial arrangements, including race sponsorship, with betting operators who currently neither pay an agreed contribution in respect of their digital businesses, nor have a commercial deal in place to pay the equivalent sum.

The move is designed to stop British racing “losing out on an estimated STG30 million ($A63.79 million) a year in Levy or equivalent payments” by offshore firms.

“British racing offers world-class sport, gives enjoyment to millions of people a year, employs over 85,000 people and contributes STG3.4billion a year to the economy,” Nick Rust, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said.

“But we are underfunded and loopholes in the Horserace Betting Levy system, allowing the majority of betting operators to make no contribution from profits made on British racing through their digital businesses, continue to play a large part in that.

“This platform should help the government to complete its commitments to British racing to resolve the problems of the outdated Levy legislation with the introduction of a Racing Right to ensure a fair and equitable funding mechanism between the racing and betting industries.”

 
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