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UK Horseracing Industry Scores From Tote Sale


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The UK horseracing industry, which has been on a decline in recent years, will
benefit from the sale of the Tote, the nation’s sole horseracing pool betting
operator, to UK betting giant Betfred last year, in the amount of £90 million.

According to an announcement from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and
Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the UK horseracing industry
will receive the funding
as part of a new ‘twin-track structure’.

These initiatives will be funded in the form of three annual payments to the UK
horseracing industry of £10 million each from the government, in addition to the
£10 million it has already earmarked for The Racing Foundation.

Funds Divided Between Racing Foundation and Grant Scheme

Going forward, the BHA confirmed that all funds will be divided annually between
The Racing Foundation and the grant scheme as specified by its Chairman’s
Committee, while the outstanding £50 million will be handed over ‘on a deferred
basis’, as dictated by the government’s upcoming review on spending.

As part of Betfred’s acquisition of the Tote to Warrington-headquartered Betfred
for £265 million in June last year, The Racing Foundation will be established
with the aim of providing funds to UK horse racing-related charities.

Over and above The Racing Foundation, the BHA also confirmed that it will soon
launch a new grant scheme with the objective of providing much-needed funding to
the industry in the form of ‘state aid-compliant projects’.

Said BHA Chief Executive Officer, Paul Bittar, ‘We are determined to use the
opportunity provided by the proceeds from the sale of the Tote to create a
meaningful legacy for the entire sport. The process will operate under
significant constraints, principally around state aid, and the anticipated £90
million will be received over a number of years, so we are very much taking a
long-term view.’

Over and above boasting facilities in every one of Britain’s 60 racecourses and
517 off-course betting shops, the Tote also accepts betting on a host of other
sports, including soccer, rugby, golf, tennis, cricket and many more.

We Promised Racing Would get Half of the Proceeds

Said UK Minister for Tourism and Heritage, John Penrose, ‘The sale of the Tote
last year after decades of trying, finally – and not before time – saw the
Government move out of the bookmaking business. We promised that racing would
get half of the proceeds and now we are making good that pledge.

‘Racing is a
mature, successful and much-loved business. Today’s announcement, along with our
ongoing plans to reform the levy arrangements between betting and racing, will
be a further step in allowing it to prosper without unnecessary Government
interference,’ he said.

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