Sports betting giant William Hill has announced the sale of 82 of it’s horse racing course track-side pitches.
The pitches are used to provide horse racing punters the service of placing track-side wagers. According to The Guardian, William Hill has been offering this option for over 80 years. It launched it’s first track-side pitch at Northolt Park in 1933.
However, due to the advent of online operators such as Betfair, this market has steadily declined over the years.
The announcement has raised questions over the future integrity of horseracing ‘starting prices’ in the bookmaking industry.
William Hill will earn approximately £2.5 million from the sale. The pitches are being sold to Racecourse Pitches Limited, a smaller-scale rival.
William Hill’s Trading Director, Terry Pattinson, said that the bookie will now focus on optimizing profits from its 41 remaining on-course betting shops.
“With a William Hill betting shop now at 41 racecourses, we have reviewed whether our rails operation continues to make commercial sense. Our focus now is to provide on-course customers with a full retail experience on the racecourse so it makes sense to move away from our rails operation, hence, we have agreed a sale with Racecourse Pitches Limited. We wish them the best of luck with their new expanded operations.”
Racecourse Pitches Limited, under the Sid Hooper brand, give punters the chance to place track-side bets. According to John Hooper, Managing Director, the firm has been eager to expand for some time.
“We have been looking for expansion opportunities for some time and we are thrilled to have acquired the William Hill on-course portfolio of pitches.”
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