The UK racing industry has been warned that it needs to begin making plans ahead of a potential no-deal Brexit scenario, which is expected to have a significant impact on the sector.
In a note sent on behalf of the Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group, it was emphasised that ‘the political situation regarding the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, currently scheduled for 31 October, remains unpredictable’.
The Group has advised industry participants to ‘start making plans for how a no-deal Brexit might affect them.’
A number of focus areas have been outlined by the Steering Group in the short term, which include: The rights of EU and European Economic Area workers in British racing and breeding, Thoroughbred movement to and from the EU, including former Tripartite Agreement countries, transportation requirements and permits, the imposition of tariffs to sales, and data sharing between regulators.
If no deal is reached by October 31 the Tripartite Agreement, which oversees the free movement of racehorses between the UK, Ireland and France, will cease to exist. Back in 2017, racehorses were moved across the borders over 26,000 times under the terms of the legislation, however, a no-deal will put the agreement to the test.
A failure to reach a trade deal with the European Union, however, will hit the sector hard, with barriers to free movement expected to impact the 1,500 race meetings held in the UK.
The current racing calendar is estimated to generate £11.5bn in bets for UK bookmakers, so it’s safe to say that any barriers to the movement of horses will have severe knock-on effects.
With a potential hindrance to the movement of horses across the borders, interest in horse racing among punters could dwindle due to smaller fields, resulting in smaller margins for bookmakers.
“Further updates will be provided in the coming weeks as the situation develops and more guidance becomes available,” the note added.