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British Tote sold to Betfred

By mr-gambling on 2011-06-19 11:19:31

Although this site is aimed predominately at the Irish sports gambling audience, we felt we couldn’t let the sale of the British Tote pass without mention. Tote Ireland is of course a totally separate organisation, but many Irish horse racing gamblers travel regularly to the UK and may well gamble on the Tote on the course. The British government have been attempting to sell the Tote for many years, and have finally agreed a £265 million sale to  Betfred, the well known bookmaking chain. The acquisition will propel Betfred into the top four in the British bookmaking sector, with 1,350 shops the vast majority of which are not duplicated in terms of position. It has to be said that not everyone in the horse racing industry is particularly happy about this news, even though horse racing in the UK will receive more than £90 million from the deal, plus another £11 million this year and £9 million per year for the next 6 years. The turning point in the negotiations appears to have been a joint plan agreed with the racecourses to set up a Tote Racing Development Board with the objective of increasing income from on-course tote gambling. As with Tote Ireland, the UK Tote is primarily a pool gambling system with gamblers effectively betting amongst themselves instead of the bookmaker. The pros and cons of pool gambling are well documented, and each on-course gambler makes their own decision whether to gamble with a bookmaker or the Tote. Some would argue that the odds can be better on the Tote, but of course the odds paid out depend solely on the pattern of betting on any particular race and are therefore unknown at the time of placing a bet. It will be interesting to see how Betfred propose to increase the Tote revenue and Irish horse racing gamblers may be wondering whether this is a blueprint for the fate of Tote Ireland.