Following today’s announcement on the Tote, British Horseracing Authority Chief Executive Nic Coward said:
“Racing urged the Government to make a “no-sale” decision back in July. We considered then that it was the only realistic option for Government, the Tote and Racing, and even more so now.
“The BHA welcomes the Minister’s statement that the Tote and Racing should work closely together. The Tote and Racing are natural business partners. We see the Tote working closely with Racing, striking deals in relation to pool operations with racecourses and making the most of opportunities such as international co-mingling of pool betting, as vitally important to both. This works across the world, and makes sense for all parties in Britain, alongside a proper return to Racing from other parts of betting through the Levy.
“There are undoubtedly tough times ahead, and certainty in relation to the Tote and its income to Racing is what we have been keen to secure.
“Our sport was the reason behind the Tote’s creation, is central to its business and the initial Labour manifesto commitment in 2001 pledged to sell the Tote to Racing “to allow it to compete commercially, with all long-term profits invested in the sport”. Racing has always enjoyed the full economic benefits of ownership of the Tote, and the organisation has never received any support from the taxpayer.
“The other major funding issue – of the Levy for the next year and beyond – remains to be addressed. We made a constructive offer some months ago, to accept a continuation of the last Scheme whilst the modernisation work and the key reviews of current market issues are completed. We have made the running, proposing new approaches to issues that have to be addressed in the reality of new betting markets, and all of Racing’s constituents are speaking with one voice.
“Our return from betting across the board should be far higher than present levels; that is what we set out last year, and is the case that we have continued to make throughout the last six months of Government reviews. Racing will accept a continuation of the current Levy Scheme, but that is only to allow the vital reviews announced by the Minister for Sport to run their full course.”