The UK horse racing authority has softened its stance on any business relationship with online bookmakers who have failed to become an Authorized Betting Partner (ABP).
On Tuesday, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) made an official statement that the BHA will not continue to prevent partner websites from sponsoring UK racecourses, even if these partner sites will attract UK consumers to non-ABP international betting sites. In October, representatives of the BHA and two of the largest horse racing business groups officially announced that they had reached an agreement that the conclusion and implementation of sponsorship agreements with racetracks will only be allowed for those bookmaker companies that agree to give in favor of the development of the horse racing industry. a certain percentage of their income derived from activities through online betting services. So far, only Bet365, Betfair and 32Red have bothered to formalize ABP status. Simultaneously with this October statement, BHA representatives expressed their adamant position regarding the fact that partner websites, which will continue to direct players to betting sites that do not have ABP status, risk being subject to the most stringent regulatory sanctions, up to a complete ban on sponsorship. … However, over time, all harsh language has been replaced or removed entirely from this BHA press release. According to experts, such a change in the regulator’s rhetoric should be very beneficial for such industry players as, for example, the Cheltenham race track, which is sponsored by the Racing Post, which promotes the bookmaker companies Ladbrokes and William Hill, neither of which has ABP status.
BNA’s director of corporate relations, Will Lambeau, in an interview with reporters said that the change in the regulator’s rhetoric is not a cardinal change of course, but just its evolution, and Mr. Lambeau himself is inclined to regard this as "part of the work process." Also, Mr. Lambeau said that at the moment BHA is focusing all its efforts on attracting the maximum number of bookmaker operators in its sphere of influence.
The BHA’s new statement was released just a week after the first rift in the united front of the new racetrack sponsorship policy, when York Racecourse officials issued a statement that while they fully shared and supported the proposed BHA , the initiative to continue to refrain from concluding new sponsorship contracts with bookmaker companies with which they did not work before, but they also separately emphasized that they would continue to fulfill their obligations under all sponsorship agreements concluded earlier and in force at the moment, regardless of the presence or absence with counterparties of ABP status.