Racing: Levy Board refutes claims that it has been caught napping

Claims that bookmakers are being allowed to trade without paying the levy were dismissed as inaccurate by the Levy Board yesterday. The National Association for the Protection of Punters (NAPP) claimed to have obtained evidence that punters' money was being pocketed while the Board did little to halt the practice.

By posing as a new bookmaking firm, NAPP obtained a betting permit in July last year and ignored levy demands of pounds 9,500 without incurring penalty. It alleged that under the system rogue bookmakers could keep hold of their levy payments and then go bankrupt or abscond with the funds.

However, the Levy Board chief executive, Rodney Brack, yesterday described the allegations as "mischievous, inaccurate, and ignorant of the Board's procedures". He said the Board always pursued defaulters and that there are 37 legal actions outstanding to reclaim an estimated pounds 50,000.

"It would appear to be based entirely upon the so-called evidence of one bookmaker who has never traded. The Board can, and does, pursue defaulting bookmakers."

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