HBLB increases its UK racing prize money contribution by 50%

By Iqbal Johal

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has agreed to increase its prize money allocation by 50% for the rest of the year.

From 1 September to 31 December, HBLB’s contribution in prize money will rise to £26.6m ($34.9m) over the four months, representing a significant increase on the original allocation of £17.7m, as the UK horse racing schedule returns close to normality.

Of the new amount, £24.4m will be allocated as prize money with an additional £2.2m estimated for a reinstated Appearance Money Scheme, making payments down to 8th place where applicable.

Since racing resumed on 1 June, the levy body has been spending an estimated 25% more than usual on prize money, after announcing in May an increased contribution for the first ten weeks of resumed fixtures.

For the seven months from the resumption until the end of December, HBLB prize money expenditure is expected to be £49.4m, a 42% year-on-year rise.

The increase is to help offset the money lost by the industry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which saw racing come to a halt in mid-March, until the start of June.

HBLB Chairman Paul Darling said: “Racecourses continue to operate with the uncertainty as to when racegoers will be permitted to return in significant number. The knock-on reduction on their own contribution to prize money reinforces the importance of ours for owners and the sport’s participants.

“It must be emphasised, however, that our enhanced level of contribution to prize money cannot continue indefinitely. We are drawing significantly on reserves to make possible this exceptional level of support.”

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