Bookmakers warn of 2,000 job cuts

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The Independent Online

Bookmakers said 2,000 jobs could be at risk if the Government agrees to increase the levy on their profits from race bets. The horseracing industry, which is partly funded by the levy, is demanding a sharp rise.

In a submission to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, which has to decide on the levy, the Bookmakers Committee said the proposals would also force 400 smaller betting shops to close.

Racing is calling for a greater piece of the pie, not least because of the loss of revenue caused by most bookies shifting their online and telephone operations offshore.

But the Committee claimed that more than 3,000 shops would have to pay 50 per cent more in levy contributions and up to 1,800 would have to pay 100 per cent more under the racing industry's proposals.

It added: "The proposed system will also hit the smallest shops hardest; those making only £10,000 profit a year will be subject to an 838 per cent rise in levy." The Government would like the two parties to find a commercial solution but so far all efforts have floundered.