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BHA On Betfair Move, Levy Uncertainty

Published: March 9, 2011 12:09 pm ET

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The outgoing chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority has commented on Betfair's decision to relocate its license offshore to Gibraltar, yet still voluntarily pay into the Horse Racing Levy.

An article by The Telegraph has quoted Nic Coward as saying, “The concept of voluntary contributions is deeply flawed, they can’t be trusted, can’t be enforced and cannot be planned against. One effect is that the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt’s decision on the target Levy has just had £6 million lopped off it."

The report cites a racing official as saying that the-now unreliable, voluntary status of Betfair's contributions to the Levy should be enough to spur the industry to close loopholes in the current system.

Monies taken in via the levy are funnelled toward veterinary science, prize money, training and breeding programs.

“Betfair will only be using the money they should be paying anyway to buy other rights to give them further advantage," Coward was quoted as saying. "It’s exactly what the minister John Penrose has said the Government has to get to grips with. Change is long overdue.”

Betfair's UK staff of 1,200 will reportedly not move to Gibraltar. The shift from operating under a UK licence to a Gibraltar licence is expected to save the company roughly £18.5m a year in tax.

(With files from The Telegraph)

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