Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Political statement?

The second race on the card at Fontwell's forthcoming Cheltenham preview meeting, on 10th March, raises an interesting question: what constitutes a fact and what constitutes politics?

Betfair's proposed name for the race was the "Betfair pays £7m horseracing levy Maiden Hurdle", which is, I grant you, something of a mouthful.

But it's also a statement of fact: last year, Betfair paid £6.15million in compulsory levy on British horseracing from UK customers (that is, 10% of our gross profit from those customers betting on British horseracing, in line with other UK bookmakers), and an additional £1.25million in voluntary levy from our overseas customers betting on British horseracing (in contrast to most other UK bookmakers).

So, it's not an opinion, as "Betfair pays the right levy Maiden Hurdle" would be. It's a straight statement about the fact that we pay the horseracing levy (and how much it comes to), which you might think was justifiable to promote given that an extraordinary number of people seem to be unaware of it. I often get told that the trouble with Betfair is that we don't pay tax or levy, as if we were not based in Hammersmith and licensed in the UK.

But Fontwell have called us to say that the BHA have asked for the race title to be changed, on the grounds that it is a "political statement".

Surely there can't be anything wrong with letting people know what levy we pay, can there? Why would the BHA not want people to know?


  1. I'm sure you would be equally objectionable to me sponsoring something like the "Consistent Betfair winners 20% minimum charge Maiden Hurdle”

    If you’re really stuck for a replacement, “GeeksToy.com free trading software for Betfair.com Maiden Hurdle” has a really nice ring to it and I don’t think the BHA would object to it one little bit.


  2. Well I would on the grounds that it's not true... Consistent Betfair winners pay a maximum charge of 20%, not a minimum one! Otherwise by definition they don't get the premium charge!!