HBLB offers funding to help racetracks cope with Covid-19

12 August 2020

The British Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) has agreed to provide an additional £3.2m in immediate and short-term funding to help the racing industry navigate the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

The funding includes £1.46m of one-off costs to meet regulatory standards and guidance to safely host events, and is capped at £75,000 per racecourse, with 34 of the 40 courses requesting these funds receiving the full assistance.

In addition, the board has provided £1.5m for personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff to use on race days. The HBLB said it will communicate the procedure for claiming this funding to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) later this week.

Finally, the board has issued an additional £259,000 in funds for divided races: races run twice due to a large number of entrants.

“The Board has acted once again in an agile way to consider and agree new proposals from the racing industry and we are pleased to be able to offer another £3.2m of support, now, when it is needed,” HBLB chairman Paul Darling said. “We will consider further requests at our next formal Board meeting in September.

“As always, these will be judged against the context of HBLB reserves and cashflow and how we optimise our support for the sport and industry.”

On Monday (10 August), the HBLB said it would open applications for loans, intended to be used as emergency support to the racing industry, from 1 September.

Individual racecourses can apply for working capital loans for worth up to £200,000, while the maximum loan size for racecourse groups will be £1m.

These loans form part of a £22m relief package announced by the HBLB and Racing Foundation in April.