Two businesses looking to operate pool betting on British horse races look to have reached an accord.
The agreement probably now means security for pool betting in Britain following the removal of a 60-year monopoly on it by the Tote earlier this year. The formerly state-owned Tote, acquired by BetFred in 2011, has been a fixture on every race track and was previously the only form of pool betting in the country.
Now Britbet, an entity in which almost all of Britain’s racecourses have a stake, has stalled in its own bid to grab the monopoly from the Tote after the Alizeti consortium reached an impasse with Britbet management. The consortium bought 25% of the Tote in May and is looking to grab the remaining 75% over the next few years.
Despite pool betting being the only way to get a bet on in some countries such as France and being the major outlet for bettors in the States, the Tote’s pool has only a 3% market share in the UK as it has consistently struggled to compete with first high street and now internet bookmakers.
The future of any sort of pool betting in Britain was looking grim but after weeks of brokering between Britbet and Alizeti an agreement is thought to be forthcoming which augments pool betting liquidity in a single pool rather than seeing various tracks and brands needing to compete, something which means the famous Tote logo sticking around.
The likely alliance between Britbet and Alizeti will at least mean a partnership with various stakeholders having a say, something which has not happened since BetFred, owned by Fred Done, bought the Tote seven years ago.
Done was accused by the Jockey Club’s chief executive of “not liking to do partnerships”, something which may have contributed to the fall in market share of the Tote over the last few years.
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Having been immersed in the worlds of sports betting and writing for the past 20 years, Gary Christie has vast experience on the subjects and has provided content for TVG and Mr Green Casino among others. His professional betting covers horse racing in the UK, Ireland, France and the USA.