Betfred could face pool-betting monopoly challenge

By David Cook
Various parties within the horseracing industry are reportedly in discussions over the possibility of forming a new pooled betting business that would compete with the Tote’s monopoly.

According to The Mail on Sunday, the Jockey Club, which owns 15 racecourses, Racehorse Media Group (RMG), the holding company which owns the media rights for 34 racecourses, and other individual racecourses have formed a group that will look into setting up their own corporate entity.

Talks are said to have been held with providers and foreign operators.

Betfred bought the Tote for £265m in 2011, which allowed it to have exclusive rights on operating pool betting at UK racecourses and that deal will run until 2018.

The Tote was established by Act of Parliament in 1928 and was state-owned until it was sold to Betfred.

The Mail on Sunday’s sources claim a racing-owned Tote “would return more money to racing as well as revitalise a product which is looking rather old and tired now”.

A spokesman for RMG was quoted by The Mail on Sunday as saying: “Racecourses are beginning to explore a range of options for what happens when the current Tote exclusive licence expires and that will include discussions across the sport as part of that process. Racecourses want racing to have a pool betting service that delivers for racegoers, punters and the sport.”

Betfred and Totepool have agreements in place with 31 RMG racetracks, plus Ascot, to provide pool betting services at those racetracks.

Betfred clarified to the Mail on Sunday that it is “not in a position to comment at this stage” and the Jockey Club could not be reached for comment when contacted by Gambling Insider.

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