A new era for the UK Tote has begun following the completion of Alizeti’s acquisition of the British horse racing pool betting operator.
The UK Tote Group, the consortium of racing-backed investors formerly known as Alizeti, has become the sole owner of the operator, ending Betfred’s relationship with the Tote after the bookmaker bought the business for £265m through a UK government auction in 2011.
Betfred was expected to continue managing the services of the Tote for the next 12 months.
“Today marks the start of an exciting new era for the Tote,” said UK Tote Group chief executive Alex Frost. “Pool betting plays a leading role in racing jurisdictions around the world and we believe the Tote can play a similar role in the UK, while supporting and growing British racing in the years ahead. I would like to personally thank Fred Done and his team at Betfred for their invaluable help over the last 18 months.
“I would also like to recognise and thank all those across the industry who have been instrumental in our journey to acquire the Tote. We have received tremendous encouragement and support from owners, trainers, breeders, racecourses and those in the administration of the sport, for which we are enormously grateful.”
In addition to contributing to the Horserace Betting Levy, the UK Tote Group has signed a new Britbet agreement that will run the Tote across 55 British racecourses, taking over Betfred’s management. It estimates that over the next seven years, the Tote will contribute at least £50m to the sport.
“Our partnership with Britbet and its member racecourses is now well established, and we look forward to working even more closely with Neil Goulden, Nigel Roddis and the Britbet team to deliver an innovative and enhanced pool betting experience across the Britbet racecourses,” said Frost.
“We also look forward to continuing to operate the pool at Ascot Racecourse for Bet with Ascot and building on the success of World Pool earlier this year with them and the Hong Kong Jockey Club, who will continue to be one of our most important commingling partners from the strategic perspective of the Tote’s global connectivity.
“The racing world has huge respect for British racing and we are very optimistic about its future. As the new stewards of this iconic British institution, we are focused on remaining true to the founding principles of the Tote, while modernising the business to secure its future relevance,” he said.
Betfred founder and CEO Fred Done commented: “Through our ownership of the Tote we have made a significant contribution to racing over the last eight years. We wish Alex Frost and his team all the best and they have been very fair to deal with.”
Britbet chairman Neil Goulden said: “We welcome today’s news which provides clarity on the future of the Tote. We look forward to continuing to work with the UK Tote Group team to deliver the innovation and investment that will allow pool betting to flourish and, in turn, serve the sport we love.
“Along with the new technology we have rolled out across the 55 Britbet racecourses since July last year, today’s news gives us the scope to develop the racecourse experience for customers.”
The UK Tote Group, previously known as Alizeti, has undergone a significant management reshuffle over the past 18 months in its effort to revamp its retail and online portfolio, as well as execute its ambitious growth plans.
“We have our headquarters in Wigan and we aim to expand further, as well as building the Tote’s global connections,” said UK Tote Group chairman Eamonn Wilmott. “We have assembled a top-class executive team with a rare combination of passion, experience and expertise, who are entirely focused on ensuring the Tote has a bright future.
“We’re at the start of our journey to make the Tote into a successful, socially responsible business which truly cares about its customers and staff and gives back to the sport we love – a renewed Tote in which we can all take great pride.”