The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has confirmed that it will make a ‘substantial increase’ in its prize money for the remainder of the year, with allocations due to rise by 50%.
HBLB has been spending around 25% more than usual on prize money since 1st June but from 1st September, for the following four months, this will increase even further.
HBLB Chairman Paul Darling stated: “We are very pleased to have been able to agree to another rise in our prize money allocation for the rest of 2020 at what we recognise as a crucial time for the sport. Racecourses continue to operate with uncertainty as to when racegoers will be permitted to return in significant numbers. The knock-on reduction on their own contribution to prize money reinforces the importance of ours for owners and the sport’s participants. We intend that this substantial injection of funds will provide confidence and certainty.
“I would like to thank bookmakers generally, who have continued to provide us with timely payments on account, and in addition those operators who have shared with us weekly race by race betting data, allowing us to measure very quickly the performance of racing since resumption. This has been key in supporting our modelling and given us the ability to take decisive action.
“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. We now urge Racing’s various parties to focus on developing a clear and sustainable position as regards prize money from early 2021, as we would anticipate our own contribution reverting to closer to its normal level at that time.”
HBLB is predicted to contribute £26.6 million in prize money from 1 September to 31 December, a 50% increase on the original allocation of £17.7 million. It comes as racing begins to resume a semblance of normality with regards to fixture lists.
Of this sum, £24.4m will be paid as prize money with an additional £2.2 million estimated for a reinstated Appearance Money Scheme, which makes payments down to 8th place for eligible races.
Overall, for the seven months since racing resumed on 1st June until 31st December, HBLB prize money expenditure is expected to amount to £49.4 million, 42% more than the £34.9 million paid in the same period in 2019.