European Comission to Enquire into UK Government's Plan to Privatise the Horserace Totalisator Board

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The UK governments plan to privatise the Tote has been thrown into disaray following the EC plan to launch an investigation for alleged breaches of State Aid regulations.

The competition authorities in Brussels have today announced their intention to investigate the UK government’s proposals for the privatization Of the Horserace Totalisator Board.

This investigation follows a complaint from the economic think tank, the Adam Smith Institute that the government's plans amounted to illegal State Aid.

Commenting on the EC announcement Warwick Bartlett the lead Partner of Global Betting & Gaming Consultants said, “ In many respects I am not surprised that the EC will be launching this investigation. The Tote and the Governments valuations have been seen to be on the low side after William Hill announced the acquisition of the Stanley Leisure’s 624 betting shops for £504m. The Tote has about 450 shops so you would be looking at a value over £350m plus the lucrative Tote monopoly pool business and one of the largest call centers in the UK."

“The Tote has faced considerable uncertainty this last few years and today’s announcement of an investigation that could take up to two years must be regarded as unhelpful to staff and management. The government may now decide that it would be less time consuming and less embarrassing to opt for a plan ‘B.’” said Warwick Bartlett.

This latest announcement adds further problems to the British Horse Racing Industry. The governing body, the BHB, recently lost a case against William Hill over the sale of data at the European Court of Justice which has placed the future funding plans in jeopardy following the government's intention to end the Levy board.

Last year the Levy board raised £100m from UK bookmakers.

GBGC provide consultancy services to the Gambling Industry and produce the acclaimed 900-page Global Gambling Report.


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