UK Tote agrees £50m deal with Britbet

30 October 2018

The future of the Tote has been assured for the next seven years after a partnership worth £50m was agreed between its owners and the UK’s racecourses.

The Tote, which is owned by BetFred and Alizeti, and Britbet will combine to offer a single pool on races run at 55 racecourses and be the official global pool betting provider. Britbet was set up earlier this year with major shareholders including Jockey Club, Arena Racing Company and Scottish Racing banners, as well as Goodwood, Newbury and York.

As expected, the Tote’s owners will take responsibility for the brand’s digital output and growth, seen as “crucial” according to a Tote source. It will also look after betting shops and marketing.

Britbet will be in charge of the Tote’s racetrack operations and employ workers at all those locations. The racecourses will receive £50m from the Tote over the next seven years.

The future of UK tote betting has been in flux since the end of the Tote’s seven-year monopoly in February. Alizeti, a consortium led by racehorse owners and CEO Alex Frost, bought 25% of the business from Betfred in May, while the racetracks formed the Britbet brand as a rival. The two agreed to begin negotiations over a potential partnership in June, just weeks before Britbet was due to roll out its brand across its racecourses.

Frost today said in a statement: “We are committed to being part of helping secure British racing’s finances for generations to come through a revitalised Tote.

“This deal is another very important step forward in enabling this to happen and follows on from the Tote’s existing partnership with Ascot, ensuring the sport now has a united approach to pool betting.”

The Tote said it was not in a position to discuss expectations for the Tote’s performance and growth over the course of the next seven years. The Tote told iGamingBusiness.com it did not recognise forecasts of £65m EBITDA by 2024, which were reported by some media outlets earlier this year.

Alizeti has boosted its management team in recent months having brought in former Sportech CEO Ian Penrose as strategic and operations advisor. Jamie Hart, the former William Hill and Tabcorp executive, has arrived as head of product, while Emma Crowe, once with Paddy Power Betfair and PokerStars, is head of marketing.

As well as the £50m earmarked for the courses, the UK racing industry will also benefit as the Tote will work with At The Races (ATR), the Racecourse Media Group (RMG) and GBI Racing to promote British racing around the world.

Neil Goulden, chairman of Britbet, said his organisation’s primary focus during months of negotiation has been to “maximise the returns available through pool betting” for the 55 racecourse partners.

“This has now been realised,” he said. “We now look forward to working with the Tote consortium to deliver the innovation and investment that will allow pool betting to flourish and, in turn, serve the sport we love.

“The rollout of our new technology across the 55 racecourses along with the operational control we have been exercising since July 13 remains central to the Britbet vision. This agreement now gives us scope to deliver an even richer experience for our racecourse customers.”