William Hill ready for turf war

Bookmaker William Hill is ready to begin legal action against Alphanumeric, joint owner of Turf TV, as the clash over televised horse racing in betting shops intensifies.

Turf TV have broken up the 20-year monopoly on televised horse racing for bookmakers by Satellite Information Services and recently signed a deal with the state-owned bookmaker, Tote. However, the details of that deal have left William Hill chief executive David Harding seething.

Tote will receive coverage of horse racing for the discounted price of £2,000 a shop instead of the normal £6,000. And when you consider that Turf TV and Alphanumeric is jointly owned by the betting industry, which the government plans to sell Tote to, you can sympathise with his dismay.  

“If the Tote is sold to racing, which the Government says is imminent, then it has just done a deal with itself giving itself preferential treatment,' he said.

“That is a distortion of the bookmaking market and the Competition Commission will have to take note of that.”

Harding has gone as far to say that the situation has developed into a “war” and that his firm will use "every means at our disposal - legal, commercial and political".

However, Alphanumeric have been swift to defend their position.

“I am confident that everything we do as a publicly listed company is appropriate and viable,” said alphanumeric chief executive Alan Morcambe.

“We give discounts because we are a start-up business trying to break into a monopoly, owned in part by William Hill and Ladbrokes. Our discounts are all above board. If we never signed a deal with William Hill we would do just fine. And that goes for Ladbrokes as well,” he added.

Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2007-06-18 11:05:19




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