A meeting of the Board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) on Monday, April 27, approved a new strategic alliance between Tote Ireland and the UK Tote Group.
The decision follows extensive negotiations between Horse Racing Ireland, Tote Ireland and the UK Tote Group over several months, and has led to a seven-year alliance between the Tote operators in Ireland and Britain being approved by the HRI Board.
From January 1, 2021, pools in Irish racing will benefit from significantly increased liquidity and the alliance will ensure that Tote Ireland continues as a sustainable, self-funding business returning its profits to Irish racing.
Under the alliance, UK Tote Group will operate Tote Ireland’s off-course business, which will allow Tote Ireland to build a stronger and more agile on-course presence in Ireland.
Due to changing consumer habits in the gambling industry, with more and more punters turning to online bookmakers and mobile betting apps, on-course turnover of Tote Ireland has endured a steady decline.
Racing Remains Postponed
The Covid-19 crisis has further compounded that decay, with racing in Ireland postponed until further notice, leaving Tote Ireland struggling to stay afloat.
However, this new venture aims to increase options available to bettors next year, by which stage racing is expected to have returned to normal.
The agreement will bring local and international Tote pool betting together across 85 racecourses in Ireland and Britain, where there are nearly 2,000 race meetings a year, and Bookmakers.co.uk spokesperson Peter Welch believes two racing powerhouses working together can only improve customer experience.
He said: “Ireland and Britain are two of the biggest racing nations in the world and with consumer habits ever-changing, the recently announced long term partnership between Tote Ireland and the UK Tote will play a significant role in the sustainability and modernisation of racing over the next seven years, benefiting the sport on both sides of the Irish Sea.
“The new offering on the back of the deal should be well received by the racing community and with that, attract strong interest from international operators.”