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Mike Johnson December 6, 2020 3 min read
UK Tote Group Prepares to Expand in Sports beyond Horse Racing
Tote Group has concluded a £20 million funding round, allowing the company to look past horse racing and expand into new markets.
Tote Group Concludes £20M Funding Round to Seek Diversification
Rein in your steeds because UK Tote is on the cusp of expanding into human sports, branching out from its traditional focus on greyhounds and more importantly, horse racing, and into the world of athletics, football, and beyond. On Friday, UK Tote Group completed a £20 million equity round, drawing financial backing from the Group’s investors.
The money will be poured into several operational priorities, including the expansion of the Group’s reach into new verticals throughout 2021. Commenting on the funding round, Tote said that finding a way to diversify its portfolio was still very much a priority for the company.
The company is now owned by Alizeti Capital, which purchased Tote from Betfred in 2018. Alizeti has a key focus on horse racing and specializes in every segment of the industry, analyzing and breaking down markets as part of its speciality.
Furthermore, Alizeti has been enacting some shifts to help bolster Tote’s standing in the sector at a time when horse racing has come under threat due to the pandemic. The Group has added John Williamson as Tote’s chairman just a few months ago.
Apart from adding key personalities in the right positions, though, Tote is looking to hedge against an increasingly precarious market, pushing into other sports and trying to appeal to a broader base of sports fans.
Is the UK Horse Racing Industry in Retreat?
Horse racing in the United Kingdom suffered a heavy blow, deprived of gate receipts and suspending live audience, which is one of the key generators of revenue. The lack of consumers quickly prompted leading companies, including GVC Holdings to drop its stake in UK and Ireland on-course betting operations, citing poor results as the reason why.
While the restart of betting and live attendance has been a reprieve, it has not been enough to completely cushion the blow. The Jockey Club has warned that it expects to lose £90 million, and that financial losses will continue to affect 2021 results.
An industry rally has helped restore investor confidence with the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) announcing that it will seek to boost the industry further, and pouring close to £32 million between January and April, before shutdowns began to click into place and suspend live attendance.
However, the HBLB has cautioned that should the industry not become self-reliant soon, long-term funding from industry bodies would be unsustainable, as money is expected to flow the other way around.