The racing Levy for the next financial year is expected to yield £72.4million, with fixtures down by 30 to 1,450 for 2012.
A deal was finally agreed just before the midnight deadline to prevent the 51st levy scheme being handed over to government secretary of state Jeremy Hunt to determine.
The three largest bookmakers – William Hill, Ladbrokes and Gala Coral – have agreed to guarantee that their combined contribution will be not less than £45m. In addition, Betfair has undertaken to provide £6.5m.
The arrangement has been welcomed by the major parties.
Levy Board chairman Paul Lee said: “I believe that the offer that has been accepted should deliver to Racing significant benefits.
“The offer of guaranteed contributions by the major operators provides more certainty for all parties and valuable assistance for the Levy Board’s financial planning.
“The Board will be giving immediate consideration to expenditure for 2012 in the light of the resolution but, as a provisional indication, we expect to be able to plan to spend around £65m next year, an increase from £60m in 2011.”
Will Roseff, chairman of the bookmakers committee, the betting industry’s negotiating body for the Levy, added: “We’re pleased that the Levy has been settled this year with no need for intervention by the Secretary of State.
“In his determination last year, the Secretary of State asked bookmakers and racing to negotiate the Levy in a more restrained fashion. This year’s negotiations have seen a more productive dialogue compared to last year’s.
“We hope that this year’s settlement on the 51st Levy offers a springboard for discussions on its long term future, removing government from the process entirely.
“The amount paid in Levy next year will be broadly similar to that paid last year, but this is only one part of the enormous tax burden that bookmakers now face.
“British bookmakers now pay as much in tax as they retain in profit, including gross profits tax, licensing fees and machine gaming duty.
“We also contribute to racing through a number of other measures including media rights, through which racecourse revenues will rise by £15m in 2012 compared to 2011.
“Any discussion on the Levy’s future must also take into account this revenue.”
However, the British Horseracing Authority feels let down and believes strongly that the Levy system is in urgent need of a major overhaul or replacement.
The BHA criticises what they describe as the failure to address the offshore and betting exchange issues which they claim is costing much-needed cash.
“There are positive elements to the 51st Levy Scheme, but it is disappointing overall and deeply frustrating that its terms can be imposed on racing by the Bookmakers’ Committee and Independent Members of the Levy Board,” said BHA chairman Paul Roy.
“The three racing representatives made clear that they could not support a target yield outside the range of £73.7m to £80.8m for the 50th scheme set by the secretary of state just back in February. There is no justification for a figure lower than this range.
“The sport does have a degree of certainty moving forward, and can immediately finalise the 2012 fixture list, but our return from the betting industry remains far lower than our commercial value, and the Levy remains unreflective of the modern betting environment.
“Offshore operators and the failure to address betting exchanges’ different business model are still costing racing vital revenues.
“This year’s last-minute discussions have again laid bare the imperfect and out-dated processes within the Levy mechanism.
“No-one involved in our sport should be in any doubt of the need to radically overhaul or replace the Levy: Racing’s future should be determined by direct, commercial negotiation with the betting industry on the principle of a willing buyer and willing seller.
“We are in detailed discussions with Government and the betting industry around the introduction of modern, fair, enforceable and sustainable arrangements and this work must progress with urgency.”