BETFAIR has become the first major bookmaker to hand over a voluntary payment to the Horserace Betting Levy Board after moving its base abroad.
UK-based operators are legally obliged to make a substantial payment in order to help preserve the sport but Betfair was exempt after relocating to Gibraltar earlier this year.
It handed over £6m – equal to the amount it would have been required to pay under the terms of the levy scheme.
A Betfair spokesman said: “We have a strong track record in supporting British racing and this substantial figure is testament to the commitment we have in seeing the sport thrive.
“Racing in this country is facing a challenging time but this donation will help to further support prize money and investment in the sport.”
The betting firm estimates its move to sunnier climes will save £10m in the next year and £20m the year after, taking advantage of Gibraltar’s one per cent tax on gross profit from betting.
Betfair says part of the reason for the move is the double taxation it is sometimes subject to in the UK under its current set up. It follows Ladbrokes and William Hill in setting up their gambling licences offshore.