Racegoers being asked to 'Bet With Ascot' from July
Racegoers are being invited to "Bet With Ascot" from July 13 as the course unveiled its new in-house pool betting operation on Saturday.
Ascot has decided to go it alone when the Betfred-owned Tote loses the exclusive licence for pool betting in two months' time, rather than going with the 55 courses who are launching their own operation Britbet.
However, they have teamed up with Totepool in the joint venture, with customers betting into the Ascot pools through Tote Direct in betting shops and online through bookmakers' websites.
The team behind Bet With Ascot said they wanted to simplify betting for the casual racegoer, while also introducing innovations.
Ascot's chief operating officer Alastair Warwick, who is also managing director of the new operation, said: "We do things the Ascot way, we always have, and people trust us. We're setting up a pool betting business and we want people to bet with us, it's as simple as that.
"It's about adding colour to the day. We'll get those who want to put on an exacta or a trifecta, we're working on flexi-betting because we know that will be important moving forward.
"All of those things are important but actually 60-70 per cent of our customers are social racegoers. Part of that is putting a bet on and understanding it."
One of the innovations is a new bet developed by Totepool called the 'Survivor', which is being launched at Royal Ascot and in which customers try to pick the winner for each race to be the last person standing – essentially a jackpot that can pay out before the last leg. In the case of more than one winner, a dividend would be declared based on the number of winners.
Warwick said: "We think those social racegoers will engage with that as a product. It will be interesting to see what happens to the pool at Royal Ascot."
Other initiatives will be tailored to specific race meetings like the Shergar Cup.
However, although Ascot has not joined the Britbet project, it has aligned bets like the First Two and First Three – selecting the first two or three in the right order – with the racecourse venture.
"Our model is all about the 600,000 customers we get a year on course and it made very little sense not to work with Britbet," Warwick said.
"We also have to work on pool size and what is best value for the customer, but where we could we worked with Britbet because the customer is our top priority."
Ascot also revealed that Hong Kong will simulcast four days from this year's royal meeting in a deal managed by GBI Racing, up from three last year, with Friday's card the only day not being covered.
Commercial director Juliet Slot said: "We have been developing our relationship with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, they are really keen to bring Royal Ascot to the Hong Kong audience. It's really significant for us because they take only 15 days of international racing."
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