ARC takes 45% stake in pari-mutuel software provider

16 May 2019

UK racecourse operator Arena Racing Company (ARC) has acquired a 45% holding in i-neda, a supplier providing pari-mutuel wagering technology to operators in the US, Europe and Asia.

ARC’s stake, acquired for an undisclosed sum, sees it become an equal shareholder in the business alongside billionaire businessman Dermot Desmond.

It has already worked closely with i-neda, which provides the platform for Britbet, the company established to rival The Tote by ARC, the Jockey Club, and Scottish Racing, as well as the Goodwood, Newbury and York tracks, in 2018. This followed The Tote's monopoly on horse racing pool betting expiring in July 2018.

Ultimately The Tote and Britbet agreed a £50m (€57.2m/$64.0m) deal to offer a single pool across 55 UK courses.

I-neda also provides a betting solution for British racing’s largest international customer, the Israel Sports Betting Board.

“As with all areas of our business, we always look to bring skills and expertise in house where we can,” ARC group corporate development director Kevin Robertson said of the partnership.

“i-neda have been a significant partner of ours for many years, so the opportunity to invest and work even more closely made complete sense,” he explained. “We are delighted to formalise our partnership in this manner.”

i-neda chief executive Martin Pickering added that bringing ARC on board as a major shareholder of the business would bring it “into the heart of the industry, bridging racing content with wagering abilities.

“ARC's portfolio of data and events along with their insight and experience we will ensure i-neda products and services are at the cutting edge of technology and delivering exciting future wagering services for the market,” Pickering explained.

It is ARC’s second major investment in a gaming technology provider, following a deal that saw the track operator become the majority shareholder of multi-channel content solutions provider Vermantia in March 2018.

This diversification comes as the ARC prepares for wholesale changes to the UK horse racing sector as a result of maximum B2 gaming machine stakes being cut to £2 from April 1. It expects this to lead to around 1,000 betting shops closing, resulting in media rights revenue for the racing industry falling by up to £60m.

In January this year ARC admitted that it expects to have to reduce staff numbers as it looks to mitigate the effects of the stake cut, having already reduced its executive contribution to prize money for racing.