Bookies War Over Racing Scheme

The tension between UK bookmakers and racing is mounting after the controversial Authorised Betting Partner (ABP) sponsorship scheme was introduced.

Authorised Betting Partner (ABP)

This new scheme limits racing sponsorship opportunities to bookmakers who ante up 7.5% of their online race betting revenue as well as the 10.75% share of retail betting.

Gala Coral Group Suggest A Compromise

Early last week, Gala Coral Group CEO Carl Leaver, suggested a compromise to the British Horse racing Authority’s ABP scheme in a letter to the Racing Post. Leaver ‘happily’ offered to pay 7.5% on online race betting revenue if the retail levy was reduced to 7.5%. The CEO added that his company’s racing costs – media rights, sponsorship and levy fees – had increased by 45% to £48 million during the last seven years. Meanwhile, race-betting revenue had fallen 18% to £124 million. Leaver stated that the ABP scheme is both ‘draconian’ and ‘unsustainable’.

‘Not A Realistic Starting Point For Negotiations’

The BHA issued a statement in response saying, Leaver’s 7.5% offer was ‘not a realistic starting point for negotiations’. They have rejected Leaver’s ‘draconian’ description and his maths, claiming that Leaver didn’t factor in the side benefits of non-racing wagers. They continued to slam the Coral boss’ expense claims, stating that the increased investment ‘reflects the importance betting operators place on British racing’. Finally, they added that many UK bookies who do business in Ireland are willing to pay 1% for better turnover.However, Leaver has received support from managing director of JenningsBet Greg Knight who told the Mail on Sunday that he supported the proposal. He does understand racing’s right to cut online race betting revenue, but stated “if the retail rate were reduced, then anyone would find it incredibly hard to justify not paying anything from their offshore betting.”Bookies War Over Racing Scheme   

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