Closure of UK Betting Shops
GBGC has had sight of a list of UK betting shops that have closed never to re-open. The total comes to 500. It would seem the industry is losing shops at a faster rate than ever before. The off-course betting industry could now be locked into an unprecedented downward spiral as the extortionate media rights now fall on the remaining shops.
Contracts negotiated by both SIS and Turf TV for media rights from racecourses to be sold on to betting shops will cause a rise in prices later this year adding to the misery.
As the fortunes of betting fall so does that of horse racing.
The horserace betting levy, a subsidy paid by bookmakers to maintain the racing product, is set to fall from £91.6m in 2008/9 to £76m in 2009/10. The levy reached a peak in 2007/8 at £115.3m following the benefit of high roller losses at Ladbrokes.
Unfortunately the Levy Board, instead of banking the windfall, spent it.
In fact the Levy Board has been spending the proceeds before it receives them for years. But that isn’t all.
The Levy Board’ Rolls Royce pension scheme was in deficit for £30m and kept open to newcomers for too long. The shortfall was made up by levy payers to the loss of horse racing.
In addition the Jockey Club pension scheme was running a deficit of over £30m.
The Levy Board has given a guarantee for the deficit. You couldn’t make it up!
Also add in £10m for the marketing initiative in 2002 called Discover Racing. Racing never learns. We now have a new initiative ‚ÄòRacing for Change’. No one knows what it means, no one knows what they are proposing. We do know from past performance that it is going to cost money for little return.