SBC News Flutter "reluctantly” offered bets on Bath fixture after ARC row

Flutter “reluctantly” offered bets on Bath fixture after ARC row

Flutter Entertainment has backed down in its row with Arena Racing Company (ARC) over media rights payments by offering bets on Wednesday’s six-race card at Bath.

After Flutter brands Paddy Power and Sky Bet revealed they would not offer prices on the meet for the first time, a huge row broke out.

However, the firms both showcase their attempts to bring Arena Racing Company (ARC), the track’s operator, back to the table over media rights payments.

ARC then threatened legal action, meaning that the two bookmakers bet as normal on the fixture at Bath where the first race began at 6.00pm.

ARC CEO, Martin Cruddace, said: “We are pleased that sense has prevailed, and that Flutter have responded positively to our solicitors’ letter of late last night.”

Flutter described the unprecedented step as a “commercial decision” that had been “reluctantly” taken. 

“This decision has been reluctantly made due to the increase in costs associated with certain aspects of our Horse Racing proposition,” a spokesperson for the betting brands explained.

Meanwhile, Cruddace emphasised that ARC “very much values” its longstanding relationship with Flutter and has always been open in acknowledging the clear symbiotic relationship between the horse racing and betting industries.

He added: “We will continue to work closely with them as our respective industries face continued Gambling Commission activity on the flawed principle of affordability.”

This was the first time a major bookmaker chose not to price up a race fixture in Britain and Ireland and suggests a major ratcheting up of tensions between racing and operators, with punters ultimately ‘caught in the crossfire’.

Flutter added that it remained committed to the sport, and has invested £140m through media rights, levy, sponsorship and marketing, as well as supporting a number of charitable causes.

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