GBI Racing is to receive £4.9m (€5.5m/$6.6m) in compensation from the Israeli government after a ban on horse racing betting came into force in the country.
A joint venture between UK pay-television broadcasters Racing UK and At The Races, GBI Racing distributes coverage of British and Irish racing to betting operators based overseas.
According to the Racing Post, GBI Racing had a contract in place with the Israel Sports Betting Board that was due to run through to August of this year.
However, after the ban on horse betting in Israel was introduced this week, GBI Racing has been forced to halt operations in the country.
Israel’s Ministry of Finance, the government body behind the decision to ban betting on horse racing, has now agreed to compensate GBI Racing with 23m shekels, which is equal to approximately £4.9m.
In a statement issued to the Racing Post, a GBI spokesperson said: “The closure is a shame, given the giant strides GBI Racing has made in the four and a half years of trading in Israel.
“The country had no history of horseracing, no infrastructure to facilitate betting on horseracing, and had no real affiliation with a uniquely British product.
“GBI Racing quickly established Israel as a key market; it’s a partnership that has delivered substantial revenues and funding to UK and Irish racecourses, as well as for sports and government good causes in Israel, but we have accepted the ministry’s decision and the political will to close the operation.
“We believe it is a fair settlement, given the circumstances.”
The spokesperson also said that the company is now seeking expansion in other regions to help fill the void left by the Israeli exit, highlighting the Italian and African markets in particular.
“It is now up to GBI Racing to fill that hole by increasing revenues in existing and new markets,” the spokesperson said.
“We are already excited about opportunities in Italy and Africa, for example.|
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