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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 September 2006, 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK
Consortium 'in running for Tote'
Horse racing
The Tote saw its profits fall last year
A consortium from the horse racing industry has made a bid for UK state bookmaker, the Tote, it is reported.

The consortium is said to include Arena Leisure, which owns racecourses, the Racehorse Owners Association, and the Racecourse Holdings Trust.

The government has long planned to sell the Tote, and Labour reconfirmed this before the last general election, but a 400m hoped-for price may not be met.

The Tote relocated from Putney to Wigan last year and has 540 betting shops.

Historic presence

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport confirmed a racing consortium had tabled an offer.

"We are talking to a racing consortium about the sale of the Tote for its full market value," they said.

Last year the EU blocked the sale of the Tote to the Racing Trust, after Brussels said the sale of the historic bookies to a racing trust might involve "substantial state aid" and not reflect its true market value.

The Racing Trust was made up of racecourses, owners, the British Horseracing Board, the BHB Industry Committee and the Jockey Club.

The Tote, or Horserace Totalisator Board, was founded by Winston Churchill in 1928 as a safe haven for gamblers, controlled by the state, and beyond the reach of illegal bookmakers.

Last year its profits dropped 3.3% to 23.4m but turnover grew 16.9% to #2.21bn as more money was gambled.




SEE ALSO
Chancellor plans big asset sale
23 Mar 06 |  Business
William Hill sells shops to Tote
12 Dec 05 |  Business
Bookmaker sell-off hits EU hurdle
01 Jun 05 |  Business
The Tote is to be privatised
26 Nov 03 |  Business
Tote sale will be end of era
25 Nov 03 |  Business

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