The Horse Racing (Northern Ireland) Order 1990 is the legal basis for the HRF in Northern Ireland. The Fund is made up from a levy collected from licensed bookmakers in Northern Ireland and was set up in order to provide financial support to horseracing at Northern Ireland’s two racecourses at Downpatrick and Down Royal.
Until 31 December 2018, the HRF was used to assist the operation and development of both Northern Ireland’s racecourses. However, since then, as a result of a change in operator, Down Royal has been ineligible for support from the Fund. This is because they are not specifically named in the 1990 Order as a beneficiary of the HRF. Therefore, while the levy continues to be collected from licensed bookmakers, the new operators of Down Royal have been unable to draw funds from the HRF since they took over the management of the racecourse in January 2019.
This proposed change is the specific issue on which the Department is seeking stakeholder views in this consultation. Stakeholders are also invited to consider the regulatory, equality and rural impacts of this proposal.
While outside of the scope of the consultation, the consultation also provides the opportunity for stakeholders to submit comments on the wider operation of the Fund. Such comments will be invaluable to the Department in helping to shape any potential wider review of the HRF in the future.
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A summary and analysis of the responses to the consultation can be viewed at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/summary-consultation-responses-amendment-horse-racing-northern-ireland-order-1990