Betfred is cutting almost all its ties to the UK horse racing industry in a stunning move that’s sending shock waves across UK horse racing tracks.
News of the bookmakers’ big move broke on Wednesday in the Racing Post and could have a major impact on the nearly 600 races the company currently sponsors. Betfred will also be closing 49 of the 51 betting shops it currently operates at UK race tracks.
While Betfred says it plans to honor all standing contractual obligations with race tracks, chief executive Fred Done also made it clear that he is done with horse racing. In a statement to the Racing Post he said:
As from next year, we will fulfil everything we promise. We will not go back on anything or dodge anything or get out of contracts.
Relationships between Betfred and UK race tracks have been somewhat strained since the company garnered the exclusive rights to offer Tote betting (a form of UK pool betting) back in 2015. Though the company paid a whopping £233 million for the privilege, track owners were not happy about the arrangement and are planning their own alternative betting scheme. Done told the Racing Post, that the racing industry never really forgave him for making that move.
Despite the acrimony between racing and Betfred, Done appears to look back fondly at his relationship with the business saying:
If anything, the regret I have about not being on racecourses is that our association with racing is broken now and will be finished next year. But that’s not business, it’s sentimental.
While the company is planning to close 59 of its track-based shops, the shops at Ascot and Chelmsford will remain open for the time being.