BHA rejects Coral’s proposed ABP contribution

15 January 2016

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has turned down a proposal from Coral to contribute a rate of 7.5% of profits for retail and remote betting activity as part of the national governing body’s authorised betting partners (ABP) scheme.

Unveiled in October last year, the ABP strategy states bookmakers in the UK that do not pay an agreed amount in levy contributions regarding digital operations, or do not have a commercial funding agreement in place, may not be authorised to sponsor races held at tracks owned by Arena Racing Company (ARC) or the Jockey Club.

Bookmakers that sign up to the scheme, which so far include the likes of Bet365 and Betfair, will gain access to advantages such as promotional benefits.

However, the scheme has come under fire from a number of parties, including Jim Mullen, chief executive of Ladbrokes, who last month said the strategy is forcing the sport and bookmakers to take “deeper entrenched positions”.

In the wake of such criticism, bookmaker Coral – set to merge with Ladbrokes later this year - this week proposed an alternative rate 7.5% for both retail and remote betting activity, as opposed to the standard rate of 10.75% set out in the scheme.

However, BHA has responded negatively to this proposal, stating that it would not serve as a “realistic starting point for negotiations”.

“As Coral themselves acknowledge, this would generate less than the current unsatisfactory arrangements, and is not therefore a realistic starting point for negotiations,” BHA chief executive Nick Rust said.

“In terms of the future, we will continue to work closely with government and all of racing’s stakeholders, including the betting industry, to make sure that the necessary legislation is put in place to meet all of our needs.

“Racing’s door remains wide open to everyone who wishes to come and talk to us directly to resolve the industry’s funding issues for the mutual benefit of racing, betting and our customers.

“We remain firmly of the view that this issue will be best resolved through private rather than public discussion.”

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