AGT has been in discussion with its Member Associations (NAB, ARB and RBA) regarding its basket of fees in 2021, with specific reference to the annual authorisation fee and the daily Betting Administration Fee.
Annual Authorisation: AGT must carry out the authorisation process annually to satisfy our contractual obligations to the racecourses. The elements of the bookmaker accreditation have to be checked and renewed on an annual basis – namely, the Operating Licence, Public Liability Insurance and the Levy Discharge Certificate. We realise, of course, that bookmakers paid the 2020 authorisation fees in full but were unable to bet on course for most of the year. In recognition of this and the difficult times faced by bookmakers during 2020, we are reducing the authorisation fee by 50% for 2021 (£65 instead of the budgeted £130, excluding VAT) and bookmakers may, if they wish, defer payment to 1st May 2021 if immediate payment would cause more hardship. More details on the authorisation process, including application forms, will be made available in January 2021.
Betting Administration Fees (BAFs): We regret that the BAFs will need to increase. Like many companies, AGT’s ability to trade has been severely impacted by Covid-19 and we have had to eat into our financial reserves to support the most basic and essential running costs to remain in business. Despite the government financial support schemes and our decision not to top up basic furlough pay since the end of March 2020, we need to rebuild our financial position recognising that we must reduce our operating costs as far as possible as well as reviewing the fees we charge. We have introduced significant cost cuts and efficiency challenges, and will continue to seek out further cost saving opportunities as crowd-attended racing starts up in 2021. Even so, we will need to increase the BAF to £30 in the main rings with effect from 1st January 2021 (this was due to be £26 in the five-year budget). The Minor Ring BAF will be £10 but we will remove the ‘Premium Minor Ring Fee’ (£23) from all race meetings other than the Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot. The BAFs will be subject to constant review as the speed and extent of the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions becomes clearer and where any new cost-saving opportunities can be implemented.
We appreciate that price increases are never welcome and we will continue to try to minimise fee increases wherever possible. We are extremely grateful for the continued support of bookmakers over this past year and going into 2021. We hope everyone can emerge safely from this pandemic and, sooner rather than later, return to some semblance of normality.