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Hills sells trackside portfolio

| By iGB Editorial Team
Operator to focus on racecourse betting shops after sale of 82 stalls

William Hill will focus on its racetrack betting shops after selling its entire portfolio of trackside pitches.

The bookmaker has sold 82 stalls to the owner of leading racetrack operator Sid Hooper in a deal the Racing Post suggests is worth around £2m (€2.3m/$2.6m).

The sale brings to an end almost a century of trackside operations for William Hill, whose founder began offering markets at the Northolt Park course in 1933.

The move comes just three months after William Hill massively expanded its racetrack betting shop portfolio, increasing its number by 34 to 41 through deals with Jockey Club Racing (JCR), Go Racing Yorkshire and various independents.

Trading director Terry Pattinson said today's trackside sale is the latest action in the development of its on-course strategy.

In a statement he said: “We have reviewed whether our rails operation continues to makes 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.”

William Hill is the lead sponsor of ITV Racing and gives its name to races at Ascot, Ayr and Ripon. Its recent deal with JCR establishes the firm as the exclusive betting shop provider at Jockey Club courses, replacing Betfred in the role.

Sid Hooper, managing director at John Hooper, said: “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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