Online gambling portal Betfair.com is to pay 10pc of its gross profit on Irish horseracing to Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), the State body responsible for developing the Irish thoroughbred industry.
The deal will secure the rights for Betfair to use Irish race data on its website and is expected to earn the Irish horseracing industry at least €4.5m over the next three years.
Also, the Irish Turf Club, the body responsible for regulating Irish racing, has agreed to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Betfair. The MOU will allow the racing regulatory body access to data from Betfair should there be integrity concerns over the betting activity on any events under its jurisdiction.
The money given to HRI from Betfair will specifically relate to gross profit on all Irish racing trade, not just that from Irish residents. The agreement is voluntary, although in most other ways it will operate along the same lines as the levy payments the company makes in Britain.
High street bookmakers in Ireland are already obliged to pay a levy to the Government; the Betfair deal is voluntary. As a goodwill gesture, Betfair will make an unspecified back-dated payment covering the period 2003-2006.
Brian Kavanagh, CEO of HRI, commented: “This agreement confirms the increasing popularity of the Irish racing product to a global audience and will ensure that Irish racing will now receive a return from this betting activity where previously there was none.”
Regarding the MOU between Betfair and the Irish Turf Club, Denis Egan, chief executive of the Irish Turf Club, said: “The signing of this agreement with Betfair is an important step in ensuring the continued integrity of Irish racing. While we have been working with Betfair for some time, the MOU allows access, when required, to a full audit trail of all transactions on Irish racing.”
David Yu, CEO of Betfair, said: “The signing of the MOU is also something we welcome. The Irish Turf Club do an excellent job regulating Irish racing and this agreement will enable us to work more closely with them, in much the same way as we have with the Horseracing Regulatory Authority in Britain.”
By Niall Byrne