Bookmaker Betway has agreed a three-year deal with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) to become an Authorised Betting Partner (ABP). As an ABP, Betway is now making voluntary payments to fund the horse racing industry; in return, the company receives a number of benefits, including a say in discussions around racing fixtures, the ability to negotiate sponsorship and commercial marketing rights and preferential pricing with media rights holders.
Authorised Betting Partners can also use the ABP logo and access marketing and promotion support from British Racing. The company will also receive preferential treatment when it comes to sponsoring UK races. Betway is already the title sponsor of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, as well as other events including the Betway Chester Cup, Betway Yorkshire Cup and Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes.
"Betway has been a passionate supporter of British racing since 2014 and we have been engaged in positive discussions with the BHA for the past few months. We are thrilled that we are able to continue our support in the future by becoming an Authorised Betting Partner."
British Racing – which comprises the British Horseracing Authority, the Racecourse Association and the Horsemen’s Group – introduced the official designation of Authorised Betting Partner at the beginning of 2016 as a way of establishing mutually beneficial funding relationships with betting companies.
Since the start of the year, several major sports betting operators have signed up to the scheme, including Betfair and bet365, as well as some more specialist bookmakers focused on horse racing. The introduction of the scheme came in response to the declining tax revenues that the racing industry has been receiving from betting companies.
Since the 1960s, bookmakers have had to pay a levy on all profits generated by racing bets placed in traditional physical betting shops. However, with the rise of online betting through websites that are largely based offshore, the amount of money generated by the levy has steadily fallen. In the 2014/15 financial year, the horseracing betting levy raised £60m, compared to £97m a decade earlier.
At the same time, the industry has benefited from a growth in revenue from television rights. Next year the Government is replacing the levy with a new license-based system that will cover this loophole and take into account all of the industry’s finances, including income from television and other media deals.
"We’re delighted to welcome Betway as an Authorised Betting Partner of British racing. They are one of the fastest growing betting companies within the British market and already sponsor a number of major races. Their contribution to British racing between now and the implementation of the Levy replacement will be an invaluable one at what is a critical time for the sport, and all the more appreciated as it is made in a completely voluntary environment where offshore operators are not required by law to pay statutory Levy."
It has been a busy year for Betway in terms of sponsorship deals across several sports. In August, the fast-growing bookmaker extended their sponsorship arrangement with West Ham United in the biggest sponsorship deal in the club’s history. Betway also secured betting partnership deals with five German Bundesliga 2 clubs in the summer.
More recently, Betway became the first UK betting operator to sponsor an eSports team, which will see Swedish team Ninjas in Pyjamas donning Betway-branded shirts. They were also one of the first bookmakers to offer markets on eSports. The company is also a keen supporter of snooker and darts and is currently the title sponsor of the UK Championships and the new World Cup of Darts tournament.
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