British Government to sell off betting company Tote
Gambling Online | October 15, 2009
Since the government has announced plans to sell of state assets to bring in more revenue it has been announced that Tote will also be part of the scheme.
The UK media has characterized as "selling off the family silver" the British government's announcement that it is to sell state assets to help balance the books.
Among those assets is the Tote, a gambling company that has been on and off the market in recent years, with sellers and potential purchasers unable to close the gap sufficiently for a deal. The global financial crisis, and the government's need to raise funds, may have made such an agreement more likely.
The Guardian newspaper reports that both Ladbrokes and Paddy Power expressed interest in acquiring the Tote following confirmation that the state-owned business, which runs betting shops and on-course pool betting, will be sold.
During a debate in the House of Commons Monday, Liam Byrne, the chief secretary to the Treasury, confirmed that the Tote will be sold "when and where market conditions are right". No detailed schedule for the sale was laid out.
Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrats' shadow chancellor, who initiated the debate, said that the process had had "more false starts than any horse race".
A Ladbrokes spokesman made the self-evident comment that his company might be interested, but that it would depend on the structure of the deal. Paddy Power's spokesman said that the company was "open-minded about anything that will help us grow as a company".
The Tote contributed Â£10.4 million to racing last year, down from Â£11.9 million the previous year, and is a significant source of funding for the sport.
"Racing is important for the Tote, and the Tote is important to racing, and we are committed to working with them to maximise the return to racing," Nic Coward, the chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said of the proposed sale.
Gambling Online Magazine - The largest print magazine for online gambling in the world covering poker, sports, casino and lifestyle