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UK Bookmakers Suffer Racing Screen Blackout Amid Dispute

UK Bookmakers Suffer Racing Screen Blackout Amid Dispute

Visitors to bookmakers such as Coral, Ladbrokes and Betfred earlier this week were met with a complete blackout on live racing as a dispute about media rights between the bookmakers and The Racing Partnership continued.

TRP, which is comprised of all 15 Arena Racing Company tracks together with seven independent racecourses, has not reached an agreement with Ladbrokes-Coral plc or Betfred about a deal that would allow racing to be broadcast in their shops.

While this has been the situation for a while, Monday was the first day that racing was coming exclusively from courses which fall under TRP’s banner. As a result there was no live televised racing from Britain for customers to watch.

In recent years the cost of media rights have become an increasingly contentious topic and those involved in the industry will have been watching closely to see how the bookmakers respond.
Bookmakers are generally arguing that the price of being able to screen live racing is excessive. Furthermore, data suggests that the absence of live racing does not have a negative impact on business so they will be reluctant to pay more.

This situation last arose in 2007 when, together with William Hill, they found themselves in a dispute with the fledgling TurfTV. Then it was Coral that gave in first and reached an agreement with the provider.

A statement from Ladbrokes said, “We’re continuing to work hard to provide alternative content and extra value throughout our estate to ensure customers are able to enjoy a quality betting shop experience. We’re still in commercial discussions about the overall situation.”

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.

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