UPDATE 1-Betfair signs 40 mln pound UK horse racing deal
* New deal replaces 50-year-old levy
* Betfair to hand over 10.75 percent of revenues
* British Racing to stage minimum numbers of races
LONDON, July 4 - Betting exchange operator Betfair signed a 40 million pounds ($62.7 million) horse racing deal on Wednesday in return for a guaranteed minimum number of meetings over the next five years from British race organisers.
Betfair, along with most betting companies, operate their online operations outside the UK and are not obliged to contribute to the sport's coffers. Under this new deal, the company will now hand over 10.75 percent of its revenues from British horse racing customers to British Racing, the sport's authority.
Paul Bittar, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said the reciprocal agreement with Betfair was a landmark for racing and betting industries.
"It brings many benefits, including substantial and increased guaranteed funding as well as providing certainty for the sport in relation to Betfair's contribution," he said.
"We hope that similar arrangements with other betting operators will follow."
The deal replaces Betfair's voluntary contribution to a 50-year-old annual levy which is now regarded as outdated and has largely dwindled in recent years.
The value of the levy has fallen to a forecast 65.4 million pounds in 2011/12 from an annual figure of over 100 million less than a decade ago.
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