Imagine that you have 58 children. I know, you’ll either be full of horror at the thought of the chaos or immersing yourself in the parental bliss that only comes from the love of a small human; but stay with me – there is a serious analogy to be made here...
decide to pay them all pocket money, so you split your finances into several
pots. You decide to incentivise the kids to take up activities – so you use one
pot to match-fund their own contributions: the more money they put in, the more
you’ll give them. The problem is, Johnny and Ian have so much money already
that you can’t afford to match-fund them penny for penny, so you give them a
bit less than they might have been entitled to.
of the kids help around the house, but Anthony generates more cash than some of
the others; so you have a separate pot which pays each child a proportion of
what they generate for the household. Richard and Claire prefer winter
activities, but the majority of days that they can attend are cold, wet,
miserable, Mondays – so you give them a few extra quid for their effort.
and Charles perform at a higher level; you therefore have another pot which
rewards them for playing better quality games. In the meantime, you are keen to
ensure that everyone plays nice and fairly, so you keep yet another pot of
money to give to the referees and adjudicators.
of the children think that the division of pocket money is unfair, which
confirms in your mind that you’ve probably got it about right. That, in a
nut-shell, is the way in which revenue from the off-course betting industry is
distributed by the Horserace Betting Levy Board to racecourses.
racecourse managers believe that their track deserves a greater proportion of
Levy funding and I am no exception. In particular, Cartmel receives funding for
just five race-days in total – even though a new racecourse could quickly build
up funding for fourteen or more days. In effect, the HBLB are saying that
children will only be rewarded for taking on extra activities if they are less
than 10 years old. I know a few parents who wouldn’t stand for that one!
good news, for all racecourses (including Wetherby where Tony McCoy could score
his easiest ever victory on At Fishers Cross this Saturday - and Ayr, where Plus Jamais could make an interesting first appearance in a handicap for Jim Goldie), is that the racing
and betting industries have recently agreed an historic four-year deal with
regard to base levy income.
In a rapidly changing world, particularly where
on-line and off-shore betting is involved, this brief period of stability will
permit both parties to work on a revision of the commercial mechanisms
operating between horse-racing and betting.
More fascinating still, the bookmakers have agreed to put an additional £4.5 million
into a new levy-pot – now we’ve just got to decide how it will be split between