The parent company of the famous Ladbrokes and Coral brands, GVC revealed that it will sell 106 racecourse pitches in UK and Ireland to John Hooper. The decision was not taken lightly and is the result of changes that made racecourses no longer a strategic purpose for GVC.
Racecourse Operation Is No Longer a Strategic Purpose
GVC, the parent company of the famous betting brands Ladbrokes and Coral will be selling its racecourse rings in the UK and Ireland. As reported by The Guardian yesterday, the parent company GVC will be selling its 106 pitches to John Hooper trading under the name Sid Hooper. There are 85 racecourse pitches in the UK and 21 in Ireland and all of them are going to be sold to John Hooper.
“As the racecourse operation is loss-making and no longer has a strategic purpose, we have regrettably reached the decision to sell our pitches and leave the ring.”Tom Ritzema GVC trading director
Tom Ritzema, GVC trading director said that the decision had “not been taken lightly”. Consequently, he explained that the company is very sad to be “calling time on Ladbrokes and Coral’s longstanding presence in the racecourse betting ring“. Ritzema outlined that GVC remains totally committed to horse racing with the significant race sponsorship portfolio under the Ladbrokes and Coral brands. Furthermore, he added that currently, GVC is the biggest single provider of betting revenues to the sport.
The COVID-19 Impact Accelerated the Change
According to Ritzema, combinations of factors led to the conclusion that the presence of a racecourse betting ring is no longer a strategic imperative for Ladbrokes and Coral. In addition, he said that the company’s priority now will be the consultation with the 17 members of the team who have provided “a fantastic professional service” for both the customers and the company for many years. Furthermore, Ritzema said that the volume of business through the racecourse pitches shrank significantly when compared to the volumes generated in the off-course retail and digital businesses.
Besides no longer being a strategic purpose due to losses, according to Ritzema, the COVID-19 situation was not one of the factors that led to the change but it rather accelerated the process. He did not miss to acknowledge that Ladbrokes and Coral will always be a huge part of the betting ring heritage and history and GVC is immensely proud of that fact.
However, Ritzema added that the betting landscape has significantly changed in recent years and GVC also needed to change with it. In conclusion, he wished John Hooper the best of fortune with the racecourse pitches going forward.