Britain's two racecourse groups - Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR) and Arena Racing Company (ARC) - which operate 31 tracks between them, on Tuesday welcomed the start of a Standstill period agreed between the Tote and britbet, the pool betting project set up by 55 British racecourses. This follows a board meeting where this course of action was unanimously agreed by all shareholders in the britbet collective.
The Standstill, from now until up to 31st October 2018, is required to allow for substantive and good faith discussions, analysis of business plans and due diligence to determine whether British Racing will be best served by britbet and the Tote forming a pool betting alliance.
For the duration of the Standstill, the Totepool brand will remain on-course taking pool bets, while britbet's new technology will be installed across its 55 participating racecourses, including screens and bet-taking equipment designed to enhance the customer experience.
Totepool's on-course staff will transfer across to be managed by britbet from 13th July 2018.
ARC and JCR are partners in britbet and both organisations are keen to explore other ways British Racing can benefit from the two parties working more closely together.
Simon Bazalgette, Group Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, said: "British Racecourses working together to create britbet will secure vital revenues for British Racing and significantly improve the pool betting experience our racecourse customers receive. These objectives will now be achieved either by britbet partnering with the Tote - with britbet providing new technology and customer service and the Tote operating the products and pool - or, if agreement cannot be reached through good faith discussions, then britbet will launch as a consumer-facing service.
"The Standstill period allows the necessary time for all parties to undertake due diligence, have first sight of business plans for an invigorated Tote and consider how we could forge an alliance to keep the pools together for the long-term interests of the sport. This approach is only now possible since Alizeti signed its deal with Betfred.
"In my experience our sport is better off when its stakeholders work together towards a shared goal. The Jockey Club always looks to collaborate with others and I am pleased that through this process we have agreed with Martin Cruddace and his team at ARC that we should explore future opportunities to work together, in addition to other racecourses and the sport's participants."
Martin Cruddace, Chief Executive of Arena Racing Company, said: "Britbet is, and remains, a collaborative venture between British Racecourses which will offer a real step forward in the pool betting experience for our customers. We look forward to the implementation of new technologies, which customers will start to see on course from Friday 13th July.
"Having agreed to this period of Standstill until 31st October, we believe that we have a unique opportunity to further develop our offer, in possible collaboration with the Tote. Until this time, we will work with our partners in discussions as to exactly what that will look like and the viability of the business.
"If ARC and The Jockey Club can establish a symbiotic relationship built on trust, British horseracing can unlock real value in any number of areas. I look forward to working closely with Simon to nourish and protect the value of the sport."