Betfair have been in the glare of the online gambling news ever since CEO Breon Corcoran announced plans to shed £30m from its cost base in a bid to steady the hull of the once mighty ship; and that continues to be the case as Tom Kelly, Chairman of the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF), reports that the betting exchange plan to withdraw £800k in funding from the BGRF.
The BGRF has been in operation since 1992, when it was set up at a rate of 0.25 pence in each pound of greyhound turnover. That figure has since risen to 0.6%, and to paint a clearer picture that created an income source of £8m for the year ending March 2013.
Acrimony between the two parties has emerged after Kelly was quoted in the Racing Post stating that the 2014 fund is going to drop to £7.4m due to reluctance of Betfair to remain a contributor to the coffers.
“This is something which has emerged over the past few months or so, and despite discussions, we have been unable to make progress. Unfortunately, we now have to plan on the basis of Betfair making no contribution to the fund.” Said Kelly.
It’s believed that Betfair previously contributed £800,000 to the fund, but now receives its greyhound racing for free with the exception of the charges it pays Satellite Information Services (SIS) for the content from the tracks.
Betfair have declared as they are an online company they want to be treated in the same manner as other online companies; and will happily match the contributions made by these players.
Betfair had previously issued the statement: “As with horseracing, Betfair would like to see the funding of greyhound racing operate on a level playing field. At the moment this is not the case, as Betfair’s main online competitors are not contributing to the Fund. Betfair remains open to discussing this with the greyhound industry and other betting operators.”
Betfair revenue fell 13% to £90.4m in Q1, but there was an optimistic mood around Betfair towers, in particular with the work being done in carving out costs. 500 jobs from a peak of 2.3k workers contributing to that effort, as well as it seems, the withdrawal of funds from the BGRF.
The £8m that the BGRF earned last year was spent on welfare (£3.39m), Integrity (£1.55m), Prize Money (£4.43m), Marketing (£730k) and in Stadia Grants (£570k).
92% of betting offices contribute towards the BGRF.