Global racing could be in for Tote-mic change, says Frost

Wentworth (United Kingdom) (AFP) –


The financial health of international racing could be set for a revolution if ambitious plans by the consortium that has bought 25% of The Tote come to fruition, its head Alex Frost told AFP.

The purchase worth up to £150million ($200million) by the Alizeti consortium from Betfred's Fred Done has been warmly welcomed by the racing industry, including two-time Arc de Triomphe winning trainer John Gosden as it is made up of racehorse owners and breeders.

The Tote was a betting operation owned by the British Government until Done bought it in 2011 for £265million -- Alizeti intend to buy 100% within three to five years.

Frost, 42, says Alizeti's proposal to form international partnerships has been warmly received.

This could indeed be rich pickings for the 'Sport of Kings' with the likes of the state-owned PMU in France and the TAB in Australia as potential partners.

"We see many potential opportunities to partner internationally thereby transforming the UK Tote into a truly global multi-channel business," he said.

"This would drive incremental revenue for both the UK Tote and those international partners.

"All of the international racing jurisdictions we have spoken to are absolutely committed to building the sport of racing both domestically and globally."

Frost forged a highly successful career in the City of London.

And he found that 20 years of experience there and his passion for racing combined ideally so he left in 2016 to set up the Alizeti Consortium.

He says the bodies he has spoken with have all reached the same conclusion that joining forces is a potent weapon to increase prize money globally.

"There is a common understanding that this can best be achieved by strong collaboration," he said.

"We will look to be a major influencer in growing our great sport around the globe in the years ahead."

- 'Enhanced growth trajectory' -

The British Government's recent decision to reduce the maximum wager on fixed odds betting machines from £100 to just £2 has had the bookmakers pulling their hair out and warning of mass closures of betting shops in the high street and as a result lots of redundancies.

However, Frost, who after having some successful horses as an owner set up his own breeding operation with his wife Olivia last year in Wiltshire in South West England, says the consortium's successful bid could be a case of serendipity.

"If this (industry commentators saying betting shops will close) were to be true it would have potential implications for racing industry funding either through the levy or media payments," said Frost.

"A strong and revitalised Tote, on an enhanced growth trajectory and committed to supporting the industry at a time of such uncertainty, is to be welcomed."

Frost, who said it was essential to secure The Tote to underpin the future of the industry, claimed British racing could take heart from examples round the globe where the Tote operators were in good health.

"Evidence shows that in most markets around the world where there is a strong Tote there is also a strong racing industry," he said.

"The Together for the Tote consortium of racehorse owners and breeders are committed to investing materially in the UK Tote to enhance operational performance.

"By strengthening the Tote, it will be in a far better position to increase industry funding for the benefit of all stakeholders across the spectrum of the UK racing industry."