Today, online betting site Betway became the latest operator to be named as an Authorised Betting Partner (ABP) to British horse racing. They signed a three-year deal with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), which will see them make voluntary contributions to support racing in the region.
The ABP scheme was launched exactly one year ago by the BHA. It was introduced to address a shortfall in funding for British horse racing that has become a significant problem for the industry in recent years.
What caused this shortfall?
Historically, any bookmakers taking bets on British horse races were required by law to pay the Horse Racing Betting Levy. This levy has helped to fund the racing industry since 1961, including contributions towards the prize money for races. However, it’s only payable on bets that are taken by British-based betting operators. The levy does not apply to bets that are taken online by operators that are based offshore.
As the online betting industry has exploded, many British bookmakers have moved their online operations to overseas locations. With many other overseas companies also taking online bets on British horse races, the horse racing industry has suffered. It’s estimated that around 40% of all bets on British racing are made online, and that this has resulted in around a £30 million loss in levy contributions.
How does the ABP scheme help?
British racing has long been reliant on funding from the betting industry. The loss in levy payments put racing at serious risk, so the BHA had to take action. They introduced the ABP scheme giving betting operators the option to sign up and pay a voluntary levy based on their gross profits from taking bets on British racing. In exchange, they are able to show the Authorised Betting Partner logo on their websites.
ABPs are also allowed to negotiate sponsorship and other commercial marketing rights at racecourses that are part of the scheme. Betting operators that are not ABPs are prevented from doing this. Existing deals that were made before the scheme was introduced will be honored, but new deals will be made exclusively with ABPs.
Why have Betway signed up?
There are several reasons why Betway have signed up as an ABP, but sponsorship is probably the biggest. They currently sponsor a number of major racing events, including the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Chester Cup and the Yorkshire Cup. The exposure they’ve gained from these sponsorships has surely contributed to them becoming such a recognizable and well-known brand. Betway is a relatively new betting operator compared to many of the big names in the industry, having launched in 2006, but they’ve emerged as a major player in recent years.
Anthony Werkman, marketing directory at Betway, made the following statement when today’s news was announced.
“Betway have been a passionate supporter of British racing since 2014 and we have been engaged in positive discussions with the BHA for the past few months. We are thrilled that we are able to continue our support in the future by becoming an authorised betting partner. We have some exciting opportunities we are exploring throughout the racing calendar and look forward to announcing our sponsorship portfolio for 2017 and beyond.”
Who are the other ABPs?
Betway became the 12th overseas operation to sign up with the BHA as an ABP. The other 11 are as follows.
The BHA are hoping that others will sign up in the future too, but some of the larger bookmakers have previously expressed their disapproval of the scheme. It remains to be seen whether they will change their views and get on board.
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