New pool betting project Britbet delay launch to continue talks with the Tote

Racecourse pool betting project Britbet have put their launch next month on hold to continue talks with the Tote over possible collaboration with their rivals.

Britbet said the standstill arrangement would provide the opportunity to develop a long-term partnership with the Tote "to ensure there is a single pool betting operation for British racing which is in the best interests of the sport".

The Alizeti consortium which claims the support of a number of industry heavyweights has taken a stake in the Betfred-owned Tote, whose monopoly over British pool betting expires on July 12, and has been in talks with Britbet over a deal to prevent a damaging split in the pools.

Britbet chairman Neil Goulden said: "The Britbet vision has always been very clear, namely to maximise the guaranteed investment for our partner racecourses and to ensure the racecourses take control of the technology pathway, product presentation and customer engagement on our courses to improve the entire pool betting landscape.

"With those principles secured, we are able to explore ways in which we may be able to work with an invigorated Tote to deliver the best product and service for our racecourse partners and ultimately for racegoers.

"This agreement is clearly aligned with our 'by racing, for racing' proposition and, thanks to the hard work of the Britbet board and team, I am delighted that we have secured those key aspects which now enable us to consider ways of working in partnership with others."

The racecourse operation said it would continue upgrading technology and hardware across the 55 courses signed up to Britbet, along with the ongoing transfer of staff from Betfred while the existing Tote brand will remain on racecourses.

Betfred founder Fred Done said: "This is a significant step in the right direction for the future of the Tote and I look forward to seeing the continuation of the hard work and achievements Betfred have made in the seven years of our ownership."
Alizeti announced last month it they had taken an initial 25 per cent stake in the Tote, with a guaranteed option to purchase 100 per cent within three to five years in a deal worth up to £150 million.

Alizeti chief executive Alex Frost said: "I would like to thank Neil and the Britbet board for the immensely collaborative and positive manner in which discussions have taken place.

"Our team will continue to work with the Britbet team to ensure the best outcome for the sport in the months and years ahead. As Together for the Tote we are committed to securing racing's finances for generations to come through a revitalised Tote."