British racing has added more online gambling operators to its controversial Authorized Betting Partner (ABP) scheme.
On Friday, Amaya Gaming’s new BetStars online sports betting brand announced that it had signed up for the British Horseracing Authority’s ABP scheme, which limits UK racing sponsorship and branding opportunities to operators that remit a significant portion of their online race betting revenue to the sport.
BetStars trading director Ian Marmion said the brand, which launched in the UK in December, felt it was “important that we make our contribution as a new entrant to the sport.” As with other ABP signatories, specifics of the size of BetStars’ contribution to UK racing weren’t disclosed but the BHA had previously set a 7.5% hurdle for ABP wannabes.
BetStars’ announcement came just days after Irish betting operator SeanieMac announced its own ABP deal, which also covers the Apollobet brand the operator acquired last month. SeanieMac subsequently announced a deal to sponsor 40 Jockey Club racing meetings over the next few months.
SeanieMac is currently in a transitional phase, having closed its betting site on April 1 and redirected its customers to the Apollobet site. Both the SeanieMac site and the Apollobet site operated off Irish rival BoyleSports’ B2B platform but SeanieMac is promising to relaunch its site on a brand new platform this August.
BetStars, SeanieMac and Apollobet join 32Red, Bet365, Betfair, BetVictor and Sky Betting & Gaming on the official ABP roster. The BHA has so far been unable to convince online bookmakers who also have a UK retail presence to see the wisdom of the ABP scheme, as those bookies already pay 10.75% of their retail race betting revenue to the sport.
The full spectrum bookies appear content to wait out the process, as the ABP scheme will have outlived its usefulness by April 2017, when the UK government intends to impose a new race ‘betting right’ that will extend the retail levy to all racing wagers.