Like in a bad Western, where the hero has been shot many times but keeps coming back for more, there is a suggestion that the Horserace Betting Levy may have staggered back to its feet and have a much longer life than had been expected.
As set out in our note here, the Government has been actively working to find a replacement for the Levy since May 2011. The Betfair deal with the British Horseracing Authority in July of this year (see our note here) and a consultation expected around now, all seemed set for the Levy finally to be put out of its misery. However, this was very much the initiative of John Penrose who stepped down as Gambling Minister in September with Hugh Robertson, the Sport Minister, adding Gambling to his brief. The suggestion is that Mr. Robertson is not as concerned to replace the Levy and has given the Levy Board six months to propose modifications to the existing statutory framework and that the Government has no intention of passing gambling-related legislation in this Parliament - with the exception of the new laws required for the implementation of the place of consumption tax (see our note here). If true, British horseracing will be very disappointed with this turn of events.
Another saga which continues to run is William Hill's judicial review of the Levy Board's treatment of betting exchange users. As reported here, the High Court dismissed William Hill's judicial review claim in July of this year and the trial judge also refused permission to appeal. However, last week the Court of Appeal granted William Hill permission to appeal and, in its order, states that "there are evident difficulties in making a fit between [the Judge's] construction … and the wording of [the statute] as well as in equating [the Judge's reasoning] with the statutory purpose". The Court of Appeal hearing is likely to take place in the first part of next year.