William Hill are the latest big-name bookmaker to sign a new long-term media rights deal with The Racing Partnership (TRP).
The deal is based around a 'watch and bet' model in which operators pay racecourses a percentage of turnover on their online bets while account holders are able to watch races for free.
Betfred were the first operator to sign up to the new-style deal, while BetVictor, Betway, BoyleSports and Unibet have also settled on new streaming terms, followed just before Christmas by Paddy Power Betfair's parent company Flutter Entertainment.
The agreement with The Racing Partnership, a joint venture between Arena Racing Company (ARC) and seven independent racecourses, marks the first time that William Hill has purchased betting shop media rights directly from racecourses, rather than via an intermediary.
The deal not only secures live race streaming for online players but also live pictures via the TRP’s TV channel that was launched on September 1. Pictures from TRP’s 22 UK racecourses, along with coverage of South African racing, will now be shown in William Hill’s 2,371 UK betting shops.
William Hill’s interim chief executive Philip Bowcock said the agreement will allow the bookmaker’s customers to enjoy the full range of horseracing coverage from the UK and abroad.
“This agreement continues to evolve the commercial partnership between betting and racing as this represents the first time William Hill has entered into a direct media rights agreement with racecourses,” he said.
“I look forward to working with The Racing Partnership to ensure William Hill betting shop customers get the best possible racing service.”
Arc chief executive Martin Cruddace said: “ARC and its independent partner racecourses are delighted to be part of a truly ground breaking deal with William Hill.
“We have a clear vision of wanting to create the most efficient deal for all parties, based on content that has real value, and we believe we have achieved just that with this deal.
“We are committed to working with William Hill to develop, improve and deliver the racing product that their customers want. It is essential for the long-term health of British Racing that there is a strong and vibrant retail betting sector.”
However, similar negotiations with between TRP and Sky Bet are understood to have broken down. As a result, customers betting at any of the 22 racecourses involved will not be able to access a live stream of the race.
The ‘watch and bet model’ is a significant shift away from the previous 'bet and watch' version, under which firms pay a fee for every race streamed and where live streaming was only obtainable for customers who met the minimum bet requirement.