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Scrap betting coverage for horseracing on ITV, says trainer

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GenericHorseracing
orseracing trainer Mark Johnston has called for UK broadcaster ITV to pull betting advertising from coverage of the sport when it assumes exclusive rights to showing races from the start of next year.

ITV will take over from Channel 4 and the deal includes all the key events on the calendar, such as the Cheltenham Festival, the Crabbie’s Grand National at Aintree and the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs.

Johnston, who has won the Ascot Gold Cup three times and the Goodwood Cup five times, is quoted by Racing Post as saying: "They should get rid of all the coverage of betting. I totally understand the relationship between racing and betting, but the coverage is ridiculous and it's bad for both industries.

"You can watch hours of football coverage on television and never hear betting mentioned once, but millions of people do bet on football because they have an opinion on it. Racing's viewers are encouraged to listen to other people's opinions, tips basically."

ITV’s French Open tennis coverage has been sponsored by Bet365, the same operator which has recently been announced as a sponsor of Sky Sports’ live Premier League broadcast Monday Night Football from the start of next season, beginning in August.

Statistics published by the Gambling Commission show that total turnover for horseracing betting in Great Britain was £4.96bn between October 2014 and September 2015, while total horseracing betting gross gaming yield was £622.9m.

Peter Craske, PR Manager for the Association of British Bookmakers, said in a responsive statement sent to Gambling Insider: “Having a flutter on horseracing has been an integral part of the sport for decades, and part of what makes racing exciting. It’s one of the reasons eight million people choose to bet safely and responsibly in their local bookies. We are sure that the new team will want to reflect that excitement in their coverage.

“Betting shops pay approximately £300m in levy payments and media rights for horseracing.”

ITV Sport did not respond to a request for comment before the publishing of this article.
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