Ladbrokes CEO warning over ABP 'grenade'

Ladbrokes CEO warning over ABP 'grenade'

Thursday, December 17, 2015 Totally Gaming
Jim Mullen said that 'niggles' must be overcome for the good of racing and the betting industry

Ladbrokes’ chief executive has called for better working relations between racing and bookmakers as he spoke of the danger of “commercial grenades” in a discussion about the authorised betting partner (ABP) scheme.

Jim Mullen, speaking to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Racing & Bloodstock at the House of Commons on Tuesday, said that the scheme was not helpful in solving the disagreements between racing and bookmakers over a workable funding model.

In October it was announced that most of the UK’s biggest racecourses would only enter into commercial agreements and sponsorship deals with operators who had paid the Horseracing Levy or had achieved ABP status through a voluntary contribution scheme.

While Betfair, bet365 and 32Red have gained ABP status, other major firms have been highly critical, with Ladbrokes among a number of bookmakers who said they would be reviewing their sponsorship policy in racing.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mullen said: "I am not sure that any issue which has led to such a heated debate or argument, whether personal, political or commercial, has ever been solved by increasing the number of verbal and commercial grenades being thrown from ever deeper entrenched positions.

"We need to look forward if peace and stability is to be achieved and grudges and niggles of past times have to be set aside.

"Progress cannot be made against a backdrop of scores, injustices - or perceived injustices - and beliefs in historic debts that have to be settled first."

This week it was revealed that the scheme will no longer bar non-ABP affiliates from sponsoring events, and York Racecourse – the country’s biggest independent track – earlier this month said it would continue to partner with operators that are not ABPs.

The ABP scheme was introduced by the British Horseracing Asoociation (BHA), Horsemen's Group and Racecourse Association and is supported by Jockey Club Racecourses, Arena Racing and Scotland's five racecourses.

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