The race for the Tote is now perilously close to the line. Much like a General Election though the campaigning is seemingly getting more and more fierce the closer we get to the final decision that is expected later this week. This time it’s Betfred’s turn to initiate some verbal jousting as they aim to take the upper hand in a battle that looks as though it will last until the bitter end.
According to a press release issued earlier today, Betfred has heard whispers that Martin Broughton and SIP’s bid will deliver £45m less to the racing industry. This manifests itself in the shape of SIP proposing “£7m per annum for commercial
arrangements with racecourses.” That compares to Betfred’s £11m for the first year and £9m for the next six and over the life of the contract will give racing an extra £16m.
Barry Nightingale, Betfred CFO, explained, “From our understanding of the numbers, we are disappointed not to receive the full support of the Racing community. By supporting SIP the industry is sacrificing GBP45m for board seats and 10% of the equity in a company with an uncertain ownership structure. Betfred will be long term custodians of the Tote and strong commercial partners to Racing. We continue to press our case to all in the industry and we are, today, having further constructive discussions directly with key figures in Racing.”
Betfred also confirmed that it’s in discussion with various groups to establish a new Tote Racing Development Board.
Nightingale continued, “This new body gives racing a direct voice at the table to influence the commercialisation and development of the Tote and will also enable Betfred tobenefit from the experience and knowledge of those who run the racecourses. It will be a tight forum for decision making and, consistent with our overall strategy for the Tote and for racing, it aligns common interests.”
Betfred’s case certainly is compelling but the racing industry has obvious reservations about hooking up with a bookmaker and may still decide to go down Broughton’s route. We now await Sir Martin’s reply!