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British horseracing to benefit from Tote sale

Industry is to establish a new charity in addition to a grant scheme following government’s decision to hand over £90 million.

Friday 30th March 2012

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have announced a twin-track structure that will see the nation’s horseracing industry benefit to the tune of approximately 90 million from last summer’s sale of the Tote to Betfred. The Tote, which is the only organisation permitted to operate pool betting on horseracing in the UK, also accepts wagers on soccer and other sports and has a presence on all 60 racecourses in Great Britain while also operating 517 off-course betting shops. The operation was sold to Warrington-based Betfred in June for 265 million and officials revealed that they will soon establish a new grant-making charity, The Racing Foundation, to provide funds for charitable causes within and associated to the racing industry. In addition, the BHA declared that it will administer a new grant scheme to fund state aid-compliant projects in the racing industry. “The sale of the Tote last year after decades of trying, finally - and not before time - saw the Government move out of the bookmaking business,” said John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage. “We promised that racing would get half of the proceeds and now we are making good that pledge. Racing is a mature, successful and much-loved business. Today's announcement, along with our ongoing plans to reform the levy arrangements between betting and racing, will be a further step in allowing it to prosper without unnecessary Government interference.” To fund these new initiatives, the government is set to pay the racing industry 10 million annually for the next three years and has already handed over an additional 10 million for use by The Racing Foundation. The BHA stated that funds received in the future will be split between The Racing Foundation and the grant scheme on an annual basis as determined by its Chairman’s Committee while the remaining 50 million is to be distributed ‘on a deferred basis’ as determined by the government's next spending review. “We are determined to use the opportunity provided by the proceeds from the sale of the Tote to create a meaningful legacy for the entire sport,” said Paul Bittar, Chief Executive Officer for the BHA. “The process will operate under significant constraints, principally around state aid, and the anticipated 90 million will be received over a number of years, so we are very much taking a long-term view. “Racing sensibly wants to build an endowment to provide the sport with a sustainable income stream for good causes and projects across the industry.”

Source: OnlineCasinoNews

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