Gala step up interest in Tote

Gala Coral have told the Government that they are prepared to pay a total of £405m for the state-owned operator, Tote. The offer would comprise of Gala paying £325m for all the betting shops across Britain and the remainder of the business, which is valued at around £80m, going to the Government.

Last month Gala announced their interest in Tote, stating that the Government had no other option but to auction off the business.

The Government are keen to offload Tote and made a manifesto pledge to sell Tote to racing, but an offer from a consortium within the industry, headed by Racecourse Holdings Trust, fell £100m short of its valuation.

Gala’s proposal to break up the business would then allow the Government to uphold their pledge and gift the on-course betting arm of the business to the racing industry.

However, Gala would be willing to pay the valuation for the whole business if the Government decide they want to sell the whole operation.

Gala Chief Executive Neil Goulden believes that his company can take the brand forward better than the Government currently has.

“The Tote brand doesn't mean anything on the high street and they have diverted money into shops that they should have spent on the development of the pool business," Goulden said. "The Tote has been mismanaged for 20 years," he added.

However, the consortium led by Racecourse Holdings Trust is still not completely out of the picture as the Government continues to listen to offers, believing that a sale within the industry would be beneficial to racing on the whole.

Gala is Europe’s biggest gambling firm, valued at £4 billion, and has operations across bingo clubs, casinos and betting shops.

Editor, - 2006-11-07 11:50:14

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