|UK bookmaker Ladbrokes is planning to launch a rival pool betting operation if the Government does not let it bid to run the Tote.|
Ladbrokes said it would create a rival to the Government run betting group if it and other bookmakers were not allowed to bid.
The Government plans to transfer the Tote to be run by a racing trust, made up of members of the British Horseracing Board and the new regulator who replaces the Jockey Club, with profits being reinvested into horse racing.
The transfer, which is expected to be included in new gambling legislation at the end of this year or beginning of next year, will be for a market price, with the Government keeping around half of the total raised.
But Ladbrokes thinks bookmakers such as itself, William Hill and Coral should be allowed to play a role in the Tote's privatisation or pooled betting should be opened up to more competition.
A spokeswoman said: 'The Tote only accounts for 2.5% of horse betting turnover of £8 billion ($11.92 billion). We believe its only 2.5% of the market because it is such poor value. It should be opened up to competition. Five years down the line 10% of horse betting could be in pool betting if it is.'
Ladbrokes argues that the scale of its operations and infrastructure means it would be the ideal candidate to run a pooled betting operation. The spokeswoman said: 'We could run a pooled betting operation tomorrow and could really give customers good value for money.'
She added that with Ladbrokes 1,860 shops in the UK, as well as its 116 in Ireland, 330 in Belgium and its growing internet and telephone betting operations, it could offer a much bigger betting pool.