50-year on-course bookmaker deal agreed

16th May 2012

On-course bookmakers bring theatre and fun to Jockey Club Racecourses

On-course bookmakers bring theatre and fun to Jockey Club Racecourses

Jockey Club Racecourses, the largest racecourse group in the UK [1], today announced it has reached agreement with the Federation of Racecourse Bookmakers (FRB) for on-course bookmaker licences for the next 40 years through until 2052, with the option of a further 10-year extension.

Both parties hail the move as providing instant and long-term surety for all concerned with regards to on-course positions and transfer policy, which have been in question since the introduction of the Gambling Act in 2007.

The FRB will fully recommend the agreement to its members, who will now start to receive licences from Jockey Club Racecourses for completion, before the new arrangement begins in September 2012.

Simon Bazalgette, Group Chief Executive of The Jockey Club and Chairman of Jockey Club Racecourses, said:

“I’m very pleased that we have reached an equitable on-course bookmaking arrangement with the FRB, which brings certainty for at least the next 40 years of racing on our 14 courses.

“While this was never going to be an overnight process given the importance all parties placed on getting right such a lengthy agreement, I’m pleased relations with the FRB have grown stronger through these negotiations. This is a good sign for our ongoing partnership.

“Last year we welcomed record attendances of 1.9m people at Jockey Club Racecourses, which is nearly a third of the total for British racecourses. The more people we attract to our courses, the more opportunities there are for on-course bookmakers, so we have a shared stake in helping this growth to continue. We recognise the unique role on-course bookmakers play bringing theatre and fun to our venues and long may that continue.”

The Federation of Racecourse Bookmakers, represented by a negotiating team of Robin Grossmith, Barry Johnson and Keith Johnson, said:

“The agreement with Jockey Club means contracts will be in place with every racecourse group in the country. It is a turning point in our relationship with racecourses nationwide, and an agreement which gives confidence to all those involved in the post-September 2012 arrangements for on-course bookmakers.

“These are difficult times for on-course bookmakers, so we are pleased to have secured this deal. By working towards a common goal, we think we have found a solid basis for future relations with Jockey Club Racecourses.

“Both parties have worked hard to develop this deal, and the positive outcome is a testament to that. We’re looking forward now to reaching agreements with every racecourse in the country.”

John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage, with responsibility in Government for Gambling and Horseracing, said:

“Huge congratulations to both the Federation of Racecourse Bookmakers and Jockey Club Racecourses for reaching this agreement.  It’s a commercially brokered deal which should to stand both parties in good stead for the next 50 years.

“This framework provides certainty for racing and on-course bookmakers and the outcome should define their future working relations.  I understand deals are still outstanding at 18 racecourses, so I’d urge them to join the rest of
the industry long before August.”

[1: By turnover, attendances, number of racecourses, fixtures and contributions to prize money]