In 2018 Ascot Race Course will launch its own pari-mutuel betting operation, AscotBet.
The near 90-year-old statutory monopoly over United Kingdom pool betting and the current arrangements with Totepool end in July 2018 when racecourses will become responsible for deciding on the management of their on-course operations in the newly liberalized market.
At that time, AscotBet will see the racecourse deliver its own first-class on-course betting service and experience continuing to be supported by the proven systems, infrastructure and liquidity of Totepool, the current pool operator in the UK and owned by Betfred, in a five-year-deal.
Over the past 18 months, the Ascot Board, advised by a team of experts, has thoroughly reviewed a broad range of options for its future pool-betting operation. This process concluded that to deliver the best betting service for Ascot's customers, the racecourse should run its own on-course business continuing to be supported by Totepool's existing systems.
AscotBet will drive innovation and customer experience on-course and, with Totepool, will develop off-course business on Ascot's races. Building on last summer's Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup team bets, exciting new bets will be introduced. In advance of the 2018 launch, Royal Ascot this year will see the rollout of Bring Your Own Device tote technology on site and AscotBet looks forward to introducing flexibetting on-course.
Given the importance of liquidity to pool betting, AscotBet and Totepool will continue to explore collaborations with betting operators around the world to maximize liquidity.
"AscotBet's first priority is to provide the very best service and experience that we can to our 600,000 annual racegoers, 300,000 of whom join us for the five days of Royal Ascot and place around 1.5 million pool bets," said Ascot chief executive Guy Henderson. "AscotBet's customer service, supported by Totepool's proven systems, will deliver this.
"In addition, and importantly, we will also continue to provide the UK's off-course customers with access to the liquidity available on our races through the Tote Direct service, which is offered in the vast majority of the UK's high street betting shops and through the remote (online, etc.) channels of the major betting providers."