Betfred to cancel its sponsorship deal with British racing
Betfred Chief Executive, Fred Done, has announced that Betfred is to completely terminate its sponsorship with British Racing once its current exclusive pools betting operation deal ends in July 2018.
The move was first reported in Racing Post and is a direct response to last year’s decision from over 50 race courses to launch pools betting operations of their own starting from 2018, which will effectively end the Tote’s dominance of the industry.
The decision will see the sponsorship come to an end and the closure of almost all Betfred track betting shops and offices. Over 600 races will be affected and the move could cost British racing up to £6m per year purely in lost sponsorship income.
Fred Done has long been a divisive figure in the industry, believing many other industry figures have long strived to launch a tote beting service of their own. Speaking about the decision, Done said:
As of next July we will not be sponsoring anywhere but for the exceptions of Ascot and Chelmsford. All our betting shops on the racecourse, with the exception of Ascot and Chelmsford, are shutting down. We won’t be represented on any [other] courses. Several racecourses are really disappointed we aren’t staying, but I won’t stay where I’m not wanted. If anything, the regret I have about not being on racecourses is that our association with racing is broken now and will be finished next year. But that’s not business, it’s sentimental.– Fred Done, Betfred Chief Executive
Steady decline of the Tote
Fred Done bought the rights to the Tote in 2011 amid competition from many in the industry. This opposition never really died down and Done had clashed with other senior industry figures repeatedly. Despite a shaky relationship, both Betfred and the Tote remained strongly linked to British racing. Betfred itself has long been a huge presence at racing courses around the country, sponsoring around 1,000 races in 2016 and having betting shops and offices at multiple tracks.
However, the decision from multiple courses to launch their own pools betting service, along with a failure to form a joint proprietary pool system outside of the Betfred Tote, appears to be the final straw for Done and will effectively end the Tote’s dominance on the sport.
As from next year, racing and Betfred have got to learn to live without each other.– Fred Done, Betfred Chief Executive
The Tote has had an almost monopoly on pools betting at British race courses for almost 100 years. But just two courses, Ascot and Chelmsford, will retain the Tote from next summer, once the deal expires.