12/10/10 – This business should remain independent and not be sold off, says Bazalgette
The British government's latest attempt to sell off the state-owned Tote came in for criticism by the chief executive of the UK Jockey Club, Simon Bazalgette, this week.
Bazalgette's protest comes at the eleventh hour; the deadline on accepting bids for the bookmaker closes today (Friday). Gala Coral Group Ltd, Sportech plc and Betfred Ltd are reportedly among potential bidders.
Bloombergs business news reported that at present the Tote's profit is ploughed back into racing and amounts to around GBP21 million a year, according to the Club, which is loathe to lose such a subsidy.
“There is value in leaving it independent, because it protects not only racing revenues, but on-shore tax revenues and employment,” Bazalgette, told the news agency. “The risk is if a third party comes in, they could take parts of the business offshore, which would deprive the government of tax — as a lot of bookmakers have done.”