A new seven-year strategic alliance has been agreed between Horse Racing Ireland who operate Tote Ireland and the UK Tote Group.
The decision follows extensive negotiations over several months and has this week been approved by the HRI Board.
From January 1, 2021, pools in Irish racing will benefit from significantly increased liquidity and the alliance will ensure that Tote Ireland continues as a sustainable, self-funding business returning its profits to Irish racing.
Under the alliance, from January 2021 UK Tote Group will operate Tote Ireland’s off-course business, allowing Tote Ireland to build a stronger and more agile on-course presence in Ireland.
Pool betting is mainly offered on racecourses and the dividend that is paid out to winners is based on the proportion of bets which have been placed on that particular runner.
It benefits from premium locations in grandstands and restaurants and also offer different betting products including Jackpots and Placepots.
The UK Tote became privately owned by British racecourses in recent years having been run as a partial semi-state body with its profits going into racing since it was established originally by Winston Churchill in the 1920s.
Pool or pari-mutuel betting is the exclusive way in which legal betting takes place in almost every major racing country including France, Japan, Hong Kong and the United States though it has been second in Britain and Ireland to what we know as bookmakers, both on and off course.
“The alignment of Tote Ireland with the UK Tote Group provides a sustainable long-term foundation and secures a modern and progressive future for one of the most traditional and valued elements of Irish racing,” said Horse racing Ireland Chairman Nicky Hartery.
“This alliance will produce a new offering that will be attractive to international operators and will maximise turnover on Irish racing through new and existing business channels.”
“Tote Ireland has always enjoyed a strong relationship with the racecourses in Ireland and has been a keen supporter and sponsor, as well as a trusted betting service for Irish racegoers for generations,” added Horse Racing Ireland CEO Brian Kavanagh.
“However, punters’ habits have changed and that has led to a steady decline in the on-course turnover of Tote Ireland, a situation exacerbated this year through the loss of major festival meetings.”
“This has greatly impacted the ability of Tote Ireland to develop the products necessary to compete in the digital off-course arena and one of the crucial attractions of this alliance is that it will allow Tote Ireland to develop a joint offering with the UK Tote Group which will be highly attractive to international markets.”
“This will greatly increase liquidity in Irish racing markets, increase the choice available to punters and allow Tote Ireland to maintain its vital role in Irish racing.”
“We will work with the Tote Ireland team to bring innovation and creative thinking to how pool betting is presented to racing fans, both on course and through off-course digital channels,” said Alex Frost, CEO of the UK Tote.
“We have already made great strides since acquiring the UK Tote six months ago, including the launch of a new website, the return of Tote Ten to Follow and growth in significant international partnerships. There remains much work to do but together we have great people with the necessary skills, resources and determination to ensure both Tote Ireland and the UK Tote have a bright future.”