Pitch battle for bookies

The upcoming 2005 Gambling Act, due to be introduced this September, is leaving on-site bookmakers around Britain’s racecourses sweating over their livelihood.

That’s because under the current proposals of the Gambling Act, from 2012 the 59 racecourses in Britain will be allowed to take over ownership of bookie pitches on their courses and then rent them back to those who previously owned them.

The situation seems irrational, especially when you consider some bookmakers pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for prime pitches at racecourses such as Cheltenham and Ascot. One bookie even spent £1.25 million buying pitches across 34 racecourses.

However, Robin Grossmith, chairman of the Rails Bookmakers’ Association and a director of the Federation of Racecourse Bookmakers, has been told that there may have been some kind of mistake in the legislation, and considering the criticism the government has had for the handling of its new gambling policies, that would come as no surprise to many.

"I've been told that there has been a mistake in legislation - or that it has been misinterpreted - and that this will be put right. I have been told that those who voted in favour of this act had no intention of putting people out of business,” he said.

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Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2007-06-21 11:43:13

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