HBLB releases £6.5m fund to assist racecourse cash flow

24 April 2020

The Horserace Betting Levy Board has released £6.5m worth of capital credits to British racecourses to help them with cash flow during the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

Under normal circumstances, racecourses can elect to waive the receipt of grants such as those for prize money from the HBLB. These funds are then held by HBLB so that racecourses can make use of them as capital credits for use on improvement projects approved by the HBLB.

However, because of the impact the virus has had on the racing industry after all UK racing was suspended last month, the HBLB has allowed racecourses to request these funds for non-capital spending.

Currently, 18 racecourses have capital credit balances that they will now be able to access.

“HBLB wants to provide flexibility around funds where possible, given the exceptional pressure on the sport while no fixtures are being staged,” HBLB chief executive Alan Delmonte said.

“This now includes releasing capital credits balances to those racecourses that wish to have them for day to day cash requirements, rather than being only for use on capital development projects.”

The funds will be in addition to the combined £22m provided by the HBLB and the Racing Foundation in emergency funding to the industry.

Among the payments the HBLB agreed to make as part of that package was an advance payment of raceday services grants to racecourses.

The HBLB typically pays racecourses £12,571 for most fixtures, to cover regulation and integrity services. However, the board has agreed to make up to eight of these payments early, paying four now and four “in the near future”. These payments are worth a combined £8m.

The Covid-19 Racing Industry Group’s Resumption of Racing Group has been working with horsemen, racecourses and other stakeholders on a plan to resume racing behind closed doors as soon as possible.