History of horse betting in the UK

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On Apr 9, 2019
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History of horse betting in the UK

People became acquainted to horse racing in the 12th century when the English knights returned with Arab thoroughbreds from the crusades. In the 17th century three Arabian stallions: Byerley Turk, Darley Arabian and Godolphin Arabian were imported to UK, and most of the English thoroughbreds racing today are their descendants. The first official race event was held in Newmarket and more races at different racecourses owing to the success subsequently followed it.

Horseracing became a professional sport and legal betting system arrived soon after these races in Britain. Since then horseracing has become the cornerstone of the British betting industry with people swarming the racecourses and betting on their favorite horses.Early in the 12th century, the first race meeting was held in a horse fair under the reign of Henry II in Smithfield, London. In the 17th century, stallions were imported from east and breeding of thoroughbreds was in full swing until Oliver Cromwell banned the sport of horseracing in 1654.

During 1660 and 1685, Charles II opened private racecourses that held horse races and the King suitably rewarded the winners.

It was in the early 18th century or 1711 to be precise that Queen Anne opened Royal Ascot and gave horse racing a new lease of life. In 1752, a club was formed to regulate all racing events in Britain and came to be known as the “Jockey Club”. The rules and regulations formed by the club were adhered nationwide. The club had strict regulations over the betting and racing events.

British Horseracing Board (BHB) was formed in the year 1993 after the Jockey Club and the complete governance was passed on to the former. BHB was responsible for the racing events, finance, training, marketing and all the other racing activities concerned.

Wagering on horses became a roaring success due to the high cash prizes offered and people all over the country wagered on outcome of races with hard cash. A number betting shops emerged on the scene as a result of betting popularity. The year 1960 saw huge increase in number of punters and betting shops in Britain. The government intervened and the income from the betting businesses came under the taxable income. A horseracing betting levy board was formed under non-departmental category to take care of the taxes collected through betting. Almost 90 % of the taxes collected were utilized for the improvement of the sport and rest was accounted for the boards expenses.

In 2001, government abolished the taxes levied on the winning and made horse racing a tax-free sport by taking away the 9% duty. This burden was indirectly laid on the punters, which affected the odds, and hence it became a shared tax generation. The BHB and Horse racing authority merged in 2007 and came to be known as British Horseracing Authority. Horse betting till this date has managed to fascinate punters and horse enthusiasts to wager and win big.

Source: BetBubbles.com

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