Midnight tonight may well be the time that you decide enough is enough and you throw-up in the nearest bucket at your chosen party venue for the evening, but more importantly, it’s the deadline for anyone that wants to lodge a bid for the Tote. This week has already seen former Liverpool and British Horseracing Authority (BHA) chairman, Martin Broughton, join Betfred, Sportech in jumping into the contest to buy the Tote. They’ve also been joined by Phumelela Gaming & Leisure, who are a South African Tote operator.
The Times have also today reported that former Ladbrokes chief executive Chris Bell is head of a group looking to buy the Tote for up to £200m. Rather unsurprisingly though, the horse racing industry doesn’t seem remotely interested in any of these offers, and believe that it won’t be at all beneficial for the industry.
Their proposal is that the government hands it over to a charitable foundation, which, if I’m not mistaken, would completely defeat the object of selling it off in the first place – to make money.
Simon Bazalgette, chief executive of the Jockey Club, even went as far to insinuate that they wouldn’t have to let the Tote operate on their courses.
“The Tote has no right to be on our courses. We have some bargaining chips. We are only going to work with people who protect the revenues we have,” Bazalgette toldFT.com.
The Tote declined to comment, but as with many issues affecting horseracing this one looks as though it will drag on for quite some time yet.