BHA confirms first Authorised Betting Partners

4 December 2015

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), the sport’s national governing body, has confirmed Betfair, Bet365 and 32Red as Authorised Betting Partners (ABP).

The Betfair deal will commence in April 2016 and run for three years through to April 2019, while the lengths of the other two agreements were not disclosed.

Under the ABP model, bookmakers will contribute an agreed percentage of their racing revenues from their exchange and sportsbook.

The percentage is based on a new rate card developed by British Racing stakeholders, which comprise the BHA, the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen’s Group, operating under the new Members Agreement.

Betfair will continue to contribute under an existing five-year funding commitment until the new deal comes into effect next April.

The first year of this new deal will replace the fifth and final year of the existing commitment, which was due to expire in March 2017.

The ABP scheme forms part of a wider strategy unveiled by the BHA in October, under which bookmakers in the UK that fail to pay an agreed amount in levy contributions in respect of their digital operations, or do not have a commercial funding agreement in place, may not be allowed to sponsor races held at tracks owned by Arena Racing Company (ARC) or the Jockey Club.

However, those operators that abide by the rules and sign up to become an ABP will gain access to various advantages such as promotional benefits.

Betfair has already utilised its classification as an ABP to acquire title sponsorship of this weekend’s Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown racecourse.

“We are delighted to have signed up our first Authorised Betting Partner under a multi-year deal, and welcome the enlightened approach taken by Betfair,” BHA chief executive Nick Rust said.

"They clearly value our sport and recognise the interdependence between racing and betting, as well as the benefits associated with being an ABP, in particular from the commercial parties in British racing that are signing up to the model.”

The news comes despite various operators having hit out at the scheme, with Betfred opting to withdraw as title sponsor of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Sprint Cup at Haydock.

Meanwhile, MP John Whittingdale, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has announced that the UK government will continue to use the current levy scheme for horseracing in the interim.

The current system will now remain in place for the 2016-17 season while the government considers a new ‘Racing Right’ arrangement outlined by Chancellor George Osborne in his March Budget.

Related article: Bookmakers may face sponsorship bans over levy contributions