BHB has today rejected BBOA claims and points to the inadequate leadership its members have received.
Last year, bookmakers were given the opportunity to sign data licences on concessionary terms, which generated considerable, potential savings and which were particularly important for small bookmakers.
BHB had made it repeatedly clear that no better offer than the concessionary licence would be made. In the event over one quarter of the independent sector decided to sign the concessionary licences. This was despite the stance of BBOA and Warwick Bartlett which was effectively to discourage bookmakers from signing the concessionary licences.
In April a deal was agreed which was recognised by bookmakers as being fair and which included considerable benefits for small bookmakers. Mr Bartlett was present and fully involved at meetings between BHB and bookmakers when the terms of the new licence and the benefits to small bookmakers were agreed.
The commercial charge for BHB’s data reflects the current levy system in its first year. There is no difference between them. Mr Bartlett’s numbers showing an increase in the commercial price of data over the levy are therefore wrong.
Crucially Mr Bartlett fails to recognise that since BHB’s data licence is based on a percentage of gross profits a large bookmaker will automatically pay more and a small bookmaker will automatically pay less, even before the relief for small bookmaking shops is considered.
Nigel Smith, Managing Director Commercial said today:
“Those small bookmakers who made a decision not to sign the earlier concessionary terms should hold their leadership as being solely accountable for a stance which was clearly ill judged.
“I am confident that the concessionary terms offered to bookmakers last December, signed by a substantial proportion of the independent sector, and the terms of the licences recently agreed with the vast majority of bookmakers are fair and that the OFT will agree that they are fair.
“It is regrettable that Warwick Bartlett does not see that his members interests are best served by engaging in the new relationship between racing and bookmaking which so many others can see as the way forward. Warwick Bartlett’s failure to recommend the concessionary deal was an error of judgment which has cost his members dear. Using up valuable and no doubt expensive managerial and legal resource in continuing to pursue the OFT route is another.”