Ladbrokes to Close Shops at Cheltenham Festival
The bookmaker Ladbrokes has said that it will not be opening its shops at the Cheltenham Festival as the row between bookmakers and the horse-racing industry escalates.
Many leading bookmakers are protesting a levy on offshore betting but the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association and the Jockey Club insists that bookies that do not sign up as authorised betting partners cannot sponsor races or advertise at racecourses. As a result Betfair has pulled out of the Gold Cup and Ladbrokes, the sponsor of the World Hurdle since 2005, has been replaced by Ryanair.
Ladbrokes said that it couldn’t reconcile the fact that it wasn’t allowed to sponsor a race but could operate shops so it has decided not to open. Sources have said that bookmakers are willing to pay a proportion of offshore bets but the figure of 7.5% is too high when they are already paying 10.75% on onshore bets.