British Horseracing today wrote to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to pledge its support for an alternative to the sale of the Tote.
The Government appointed non-executive members of the Horserace Totalisator Board (aka ‘The Tote’) have submitted a proposal to DCMS, which is not in the form of a bid, under which the future of the Tote would be secured as an independent going concern through the transfer of the business to a ‘Tote Foundation’ with the objectives to benefit charitable causes aligned to horseracing. This proposal has been presented to DCMS as part of the on-going sale process and provides an innovative alternative solution.
Racing has continually stressed to DCMS the importance of the income it receives from the Tote, which was established for the good of Racing and has provided an essential source of income for more than 80 years.
The Tote has never received a financial contribution in any form from the Government and has developed into the business that it is today due, in part, to its unique partnership with Racing, the hard work of its staff and from Racing foregoing payments to enable the diversification of the business into the fixed odds market. It is now a multi-sport, multi-platform business that owes its inception and subsequent development to Racing.
The stated objectives of the Government in relation to its disposal of the Tote are:
- To achieve a complete exit from all the Tote’s businesses;
- Secure value for the taxpayer; and
- Recognise the support that the Tote currently provides the racing industry.
Racing believes that transition of the Tote to charitable Foundation status achieves these stated objectives and as such, it has the collective support of the Racing industry. Racing is keen to ensure that its views on the future of the Tote are given full consideration in any determination that Government may make in relation to the business.
Paul Roy, Chairman of the British Horseracing Authority said:
“Racing’s support is essential for the Tote business to thrive and without this support the continuation of some basic elements of the business cannot be guaranteed.”
Ian Barlow, Chairman of the Racecourse Association said:
“Racecourses have a close working partnership with the Tote, both in the marketing of pool betting at their venues and in the development of international pools on their races. There is considerable trust, established over many years, underpinned by the commercial relationship, the Tote’s financial return to racecourses and its extensive race sponsorship. We fully support the Tote Foundation proposal.”
Racing receives payments from the Tote of approximately £11m per annum, over and above statutory Levy entitlements via bets made with the Tote. Racing has stressed to DCMS that its expectation is for this income stream to continue and to develop based on its partnership with the Tote business. Racing believes this partnership can be very much enhanced under the Tote Foundation proposal.
Racing has also highlighted to DCMS that it remains highly concerned of the material deprivation that the Racing industry would suffer from a reduction in contributions made by the Tote business.
Paul Dixon, Chairman of the Horsemen’s Group said:
“We believe that a Tote Foundation would satisfy the objectives of DCMS. We also believe it recognises that Racing has to be a part of the future of the Tote. Whilst we understand that the Foundation will be independent of Racing, we nonetheless believe that it has the support of Racing and other equine charities as its principle objectives.
“Racing believes that it can achieve an effective commercial partnership with a body that operates as the Tote does currently and for the benefit of a Foundation with these objectives.”
Racing looks forward to working with DCMS and the Tote in order to meet their shared objectives.