BetFair Reaches Historic Deal with British Racing
The online betting exchange, BetFair, has promised to give at least £40 million to British horse-racing organisations over the next five years.
They have signed a deal which means that 10.75% of all revenue from horse-racing will be taken from customers. In exchange, horse-racing organisers have promised a minimum number of fixtures each year and to maximise the betting opportunities. The deal is designed to replace BetFair’s annual voluntary Horse race Betting Levy payments.
It is hoped that this will become a new model for commercial agreements with all betting operators and eventually standard practice which should secure the long term funding of horse-racing. Until now BetFair has voluntarily given £6.5 million per year which it could have withdrawn at any time.
The Chief Executive of the BHA, Paul Bittar, has said that they are very pleased with the deal and that taking BetFair’s payments from voluntary to the commercial is extremely important. Bittar said that while there is no formal timescale for arranging commercial agreements with other operators, the deal shows that they are “open for business and hopefully this will be a forerunner as to what a commercial agreement with the betting industry can look like.”
The Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer at BetFair, Martin Cruddace, has said that this is a historic moment. He said it is the first time that British racing and BetFair have “proved it is possible for us to work together on a truly commercial basis.”
The most immediate result of this deal is that the BHA has pulled out of the Judicial Review it had undertaken with William Hill against the Levy Board which began in the High Court last week. Now William Hill must act alone in seeking a review of the Levy Board’s decision not to seek levy from betting exchange customers who appear to be operating as bookmakers.