The Levy Board has again raided its reserves in order to bolster prize-money for 2022, committing up to £75 million for next year while warning that such support is unlikely to continue in 2023.
As racecourses have battled against falling revenues during the Covid era with racegoers kept away, leading to a decline in their executive contributions, the Levy Board has stepped in to cover the shortfall.
The figure of £75m, which includes additional prize-money grants, compares to £60m allocated in 2018 and 2019. The Levy Board hopes that racecourses will have recovered sufficiently by 2023 with the aid of a ratecard-plus system that encourages tracks to put more into purses by matching their contributions.
Paul Darling, Levy Board Chairman, said: “The board recognised the importance of maintaining its higher than usual allocations to prize-money in 2022 to support the ongoing recovery of the sport from the effects of the Covid period. This adds to the substantial extra grants that we have made in 2020 and 2021. In addition, by the end of 2021 the board’s contribution to Covid-related regulatory costs is likely to have reached £3.7m.
“We are pleased to have modernised and developed our funding arrangements with regard to both prize-money and the fixture incentive fund. Moving to a race-by-race basis for allocating all prize-money gives the board, and indeed all of racing and betting, more transparency as to where levy funding is being allocated. The additional payments that incentivise racecourse executive contribution are intended to encourage a return of total prize-money in 2022 towards pre-Covid levels.
“It must be recognised throughout the sport that although drawing again on our reserves makes it possible to continue with higher funding in 2022, the position in 2023 will be different. The board is required to make the first repayment to government of the Sport Winter Survival Package loan that was taken this year. That will be the first call on expenditure in 2023 and in the seven subsequent years.”