BRIT HORSERACING INDUSTRY OBJECTS TO LADBROKES-CORAL MERGER
More delays possible as BHA files with the Competition & Markets Authority.
The merger of online and land gambling groups Ladbrokes and Coral, already incomplete despite the passage of a year since agreement was reached, could be further delayed following the latest organisation to put a spoke in the wheel.
This week the British Horseracing Association filed with the UKs Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), protesting that the proposed merger could lead to worse odds for the punters.
Ironically, a former senior Ladbrokes exec , Nick Rust, signed off on the challenge as the chief executive officer of the BHA, warning that the merger could lead to a reduction in the value of media rights that could potentially force the closure of smaller racecourses.
The BHA suggests that if the merger is allowed to complete, the resulting mega-company should be required to contribute to the horserace levy calculated on the basis of its online horseracing revenue.
Referencing the plans to replace the levy system in April next year, Rust wrote that the government’s aim was an outcome benefiting racing, betting, the wider economy and consumers.
He went on: "British racing is concerned that the approval of the merger with the current proposed remedies could significantly undermine those objectives through restriction of competition in the UK retail betting market."
With the CMA deliberations on the merger still ongoing, hopes faded earlier this year that the target date for completion by the middle of this year would be achieved, and the latest challenge would seem to confirm that.