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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Racing and betting have 'opportunity for growth' in new era

Will Lambe: Levy reforms provide foundation for a new partnership with betting
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Racing has sent another message to the betting industry calling for a new partnership now that the arguments over levy reform are behind the two sides.

Last week Racecourse Association chairwoman Maggie Carver spoke of building a "warm and productive" relationship with the major retail bookmakers.

On Thursday online operators were told that this year's reforms, which brought remote gambling firms based offshore into the levy net, provided the "ideal platform and opportunity for growth, both in revenues and our respective reputations".

The message came from BHA executive director Will Lambe in a presentation to the Remote Gambling Association's annual meeting in London, in which he said he believed "we can enter into a new era of co-operation and partnership".

Lambe said racing was always confident relationships with online betting firms would recover once levy reforms were in place.

He added: "But now is the real test for racing and betting and whether we can capitalise on this new environment and develop the partnership we all need for the future for the benefit of all involved, including, crucially, our respective customers."

Lambe said racing was "committed to adapting further where necessary to suit betting customer demands, and those of remote betting customers in particular", although he warned the sport was "aware of the value of racing’s customers, and we would not like to see our sport used in any way as a loss leader".

Racing would like the partnership between racing and betting to be built on data and insight, Lambe said, with the proposed Racing and Betting Liaison Group crucial to that ambition.

"There is less reason for fear of trying new things, and making the changes far easier, when we’re able, jointly – and quickly – to assess what's working, and what isn’t," Lambe said.

"Knowing how to adapt, adjust and improve our appeal is critical to us. What is the optimal time for staging certain types of races for the remote market? Are international football breaks the opportunity we really believe they are, for instance."

Lambe said the group should also discuss joint-positioning and campaigning on areas such as social responsibility.

"A key feature of any future partnership needs to be a focus on us all operating, and being seen to operate, as good corporate citizens," he added.

"In racing, and within the racecourse community, we absolutely want to put our collateral to use in forthcoming campaigns.

"In this current challenging regulatory environment we believe betting on racing remains part of Britain’s cultural fabric, and a socially responsible form of gambling that can also, rightly, be positioned to many as a softer form of gambling."

The Racing and Betting Liaison Group will be a subcommittee of the Racing Authority which will have responsibility for spending decisions following the planned closure of the Levy Board in 2019.

Now is the real test for racing and betting and whether we can capitalise on this new environment
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