Sportingbet to Pay Horse Racing Levy As Though Onshore

14th October 2009 8:43 am GMT

Online gaming and betting operator Sportingbet plc said Wednesday that it will increase its support for British horseracing from next year through a voluntary payment to the Levy Board, equivalent to 10% of its gross profit on British racing from British and European customers.

The company said that the decision was in line with its commitment to support the industries which its clients bet on, adding that its proposed contribution to the Levy Board will equate to the statutory payments the company would have had to make, if it were based in the UK.

"An important part of our UK revenue is derived from British horseracing," said Andrew McIver, Group Chief Executive of Sportingbet plc.

"We have recently set ourselves the goal of increasing this revenue stream and have stepped up our sponsorship activity in British racing. We do all we can to assist the industries our customers bet on and we're delighted to demonstrate our support of the British racing industry by committing to a voluntary payment of the Levy."

Douglas Erskine-Crum, Chief Executive of the Levy Board, said the decision by Sportingbet was very welcome news.

"Sportingbet.com has explicitly recognised the importance of British horseracing to its business model in undertaking to pay levy arising from bets taken on our sport," said Erskine-Crum.

"Paying levy enhances the quality of horseracing, which in turn benefits the betting industry. It is in the betting industry's interest to develop this virtuous circle. We are continuing to work with Government as it addresses the wider betting and gaming environment but, in the meantime, we welcome Sportingbet's initiative and call upon all betting operators based outside Britain to adopt the same constructive policy."

Alongside the Levy Board commitment, Sportingbet also announced that it has entered into a three-year sponsorship agreement with the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA).

ROA President, Paul Dixon, said he hoped this would set an example for other offshore bookmakers and for those considering moving their business offshore.

"We should do everything in our power to support those bookmakers who support British racing. We should now put the name of sportingbet.com in lights and help them promote their business to their British-based customers," said Dixon.

Shares in Sportingbet plc (Co. Profile) (AIM:SBT) are currently trading up 1% this morning in London at 74.00 pence per share.

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