Betting shop live races could end
After 20 years of live pictures being screened directly to punters in betting shops, imminent changes to the provider of live horseracing in UK bookmakers could have vast implications on bookmakers and the industry as a whole.
Satellite Information Services (SIS), who have enjoyed the monopoly of being the only provider of pictures over the 20 years, are being challenged by a new company, Amrac, who have teamed up with 30 racecourses signed up with Racing UK, the satellite channel.
The meet on April 20 at Newbury could be the first race not to be screened in betting shops with industry insiders admitting that negotiations between bookmakers and racetracks signed to SIS and Amrac “have reached a state of impasse".
More worryingly, five SIS contracts with Racing UK courses run out on March 31 and unless a deal is struck, those races will go unseen if the meets at Newbury, York, Chester, Goodwood and Bangor-on-Dee are not shown on terrestrial television.
The loss of live pictures will doubtless hit the bookmaker hard with punters less willing to bet if they cannot see the race live.
However, Amrac is yet to sign a deal with any betting shops over the screening of races since they are yet to settle on a subscription fee.
"A price has not been fixed but that will happen in the next few weeks," said Sarah Horden, financial director at Newbury.
Nonetheless, the standoff in negotiations between Racing UK, bookmakers and racecourses may prove to result in some races at the 30 affected racetracks not being screened live for the first time in 20 years. At least until bookmakers realise how important live races are.
Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2007-02-21 11:21:53