HBLB to open racecourse loan applications from 1 September

10 August 2020

The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) will accept applications for loans, intended to be used as emergency support to the British horseracing industry to help it to manage the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, from 1 September.

This new window of applications is the second opened by the HBLB - which is responsible for collecting and administering the British horse racing levy to support the racing industry - in 2020.

The board said in April that it intends to contribute £3.75m of funding towards racecourses, with the Racing Foundation - which oversees the distribution of funds to charitable causes in racing - offering the same amount itself as the two bodies combined to offer more than £22m to the racing industry.

Individual racecourses may apply for working capital loans for a maximum of £200,000, while racecourse groups may apply for loans for up to £1m. In addition, racecourses may apply for loans to support a new project, which have no limit but may not exceed 75% of the cost of the project itself.

While the HBLB has not put a cap on the amount that can be handed out in total, it noted that previous funding applications had seen sums in the "low single millions of pounds" awarded.

All loans will carry a 4% interest rate with a four-year repayment plan and the applications must be made between 1 September and 30 September. The Board will then make decisions on whether to grant these loans in October and November, with an intention to issue the funds in December.

Loan applications for more than £200,000 will require “external due diligence by the Levy Board’s professional advisers” as well as an arrangement fee of 1.5% of the total loan value. The Board may also request security against a loan.