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A report by the Sports Business Group at Deloittes has revealed that horseracing is the UK's second most popular sport after football and generated expenditure of £3.4 billion last year, triggering calls by racing officials for bigger rewards.
The British Horse Racing Authority said that the contribution to the national economy rose to £3.7 billion if capex was added. Officials reiterated a call for reform of the levy system, through which bookmakers contributed £118 million to the racing industry last year.
Commissioned by the BHRA, which has repeatedly called for greater levies from the bookmaking sector, the Deloittes study found that horseracing businesses contributed at least £325 million in tax last year and £1.5 billion since 2004.
British racing provides the economy with 18,600 full-time equivalent jobs, the vast number in rural areas, while the onshore betting industry employs an estimated 52,000.
Researchers found that Britain was second only to Japan in the total amount wagered on racing at £12.1 billion compared with just under £14 billion in that country. But the industry in Japan realised a return of 5.3%, whilst that in Britain this was only 1%. In the US and France, the return was 8%.
Nic Coward, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said: "Deloitte's study reiterates that British horseracing, as the second biggest sporting activity in Britain, is a significant contributor to the leisure, agricultural and rural economies in Britain.
"It also highlights the disparity regarding the returns to the sport from betting compared to other major racing nations. If further demonstration of our broken system was needed, we have the second highest betting turnover of the major racing nations yet the lowest return by far from the betting industry to our sport."
Source: InfoPowa News