|AtTheRaces has issued High Court claims for the £51 million it believes it is owed by the UK racecourses, following the collapse of its horse racing media rights in March. The channel went off the air resulting in a dearth of racing on UK television, which in turn produced a sharp fall in bookmaking handle, particularly in online and telephone betting.|
Notices of court action were posted on Friday to thirty tracks that were involved in original deal and now signed to Racing UK, as well as the Racecourse Association, which assisted with negotiation for the media rights. ATR originally paid £307 million for the right to broadcast racing and sell betting rights from all but ten of Britainís racetracks. The plaintiffs, who will have been expecting action of this nature since the dissolution of the agreement, will have twenty-eight days to respond.
ATR, now aligned to BSkyBís interactive betting arm, SkyBet, is seeking recompense of a total of 51 million, which is understood to include money already received as part of the initial deal, and money that Racing UK has earned from the sale of betting rights since, to which ATR still believes it has a claim.
The Racecourse Association is currently awaiting the result of an appeal against the Office of Fair Tradingís decision that by selling rights to 49 racecourses collectively, the association had restricted competition and, as a result, ATR had to pay more than would have been the case if there had been effective competition.