Ladbrokes CEO Jim Mullen has expressed concern regarding the ongoing tense stand-off between UK Racing and the betting industry concerning the BHA’s ‘authorised betting partner’ (ABP) policy.
Mullen states that the current scenario does not benefit any stakeholders, as both industries’ are mutually “intertwined”, hence there should be no need for “backdrop of scores, injustices – or perceived injustices – and beliefs in historic debts that have to be settled first.”
Addressing a Racing & Bloodstock All Parliamentary group at the House of Commons on Tuesday night, Mullen stated that UK Racing’s stance will simply force bookmakers to choose between “flight or fight”, causing greater harm than good for the sport.
Designed to promote “a fair and mutually sustainable funding relationship” between UK racing stakeholders and online betting operators, ABP status will be granted to bookmakers who agree to pay a percentage of online gross profits from bets placed on UK racing events in order to contribute funding for the sport.
UK racetrack sponsorship approval has been used by the BHA as a key incentive to get bookmakers to join up to the scheme. To date BHA has confirmed operators Betfair, 32Red and bet365 as official ABP approved bookmakers.
At present Ladbrokes has yet to commit to the ABP model, the bookmaker has stated that it will review its racing sponsorship policy in 2016.
Mullen further noted that the terms of racing’s 55th levy scheme and its attached ABP status, had strained the relationship between both industries to its lowest ebb, hence there should be a need for better dialogue between both industries.
“We need to look forward if peace and stability is to be achieved and grudges and niggles of past times have to be set aside.
“It is my belief that we all have a duty as leaders to be very, very careful that we avoid such scenarios because they will be damaging, perhaps even more than we currently realise.”