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Bedfred Done with UK Racing

by Glenn Baird - October 1, 2017

Bedfred have announced that they will be ending all horse racing sponsorship and closing nearly all of their on-course betting shops.

The announcement was made in an edition the Racing Post . In the article the company’s founder Fred Done claimed that Betfred’s “association with racing is broken.”

Next July, Betfred’s commercial association with British Racing will come to an end when their current contract runs out. There will be no push to renew the relationship with Done stating that horse racing and Betfred “have got to learn to live without each other”.

British horse racing is likely to lose somewhere in the region of £6 million, whilst Betfred will see 49 of its 51 on-course betting shops close their doors to business. The only 2 shops to remain open will be Ascot and Chelmsford, the latter currently owned by the betting company.

Betfred sponsored over 1000 races last year, totally roughly 10% of the entire market. The decision to shut shop comes as 54 British race course look to forge their own independent betting operations.

In a full statement in the Racing Post, Done said:

“As from next year, we will fulfil everything we promise. We will not go back on anything or dodge anything or get out of contracts.

“I gave racing the opportunity of saying, ‘We don’t want you as a sponsor,’ and I would have walked away. They didn’t take that opportunity, but as of next July we will not be sponsoring anywhere but for the exceptions of Ascot and Chelmsford.

“All our betting shops on the racecourse, with the exception of Ascot and Chelmsford, are shutting down. We won’t be represented on any [other] courses. Several racecourses are really disappointed we aren’t staying, but I won’t stay where I’m not wanted.

“If anything, the regret I have about not being on racecourses is that our association with racing is broken now and will be finished next year. But that’s not business, it’s sentimental.”

Betfred have been the Tote owner since 2011, spending £233 million to ensure that Done’s company is only organisation in the UK allowed to run pool betting on horse racing. The deal sparked controversy at the time, leading to an often fiery relationship between Done and the sport.

The end of the deal next year will signal the demise of Betfred’s monopoly within UK horseracing. Despite the company contributing £3 million more a year than the contract stipulated Done told the Racing Post that the sport has “never forgiven” him for winning the contract.