Fixed Odds Betting Terminal ruling could reverse fortunes for NFRN members
3 December 2018
The Fixed Odds Betting Terminal (FOBT) ruling that will see stakes limited to £2.00 is likely to lead to the closure of bookmakers and a reversal of fortunes for members whose businesses have been impacted by changes to the way the Racing Post is distributed, the NFRN understands.
Stuart Reddish, National Vice President and Chairman of the News Operations Committee, explained: “The NFRN protested vehemently when members up and down the country lost business as a result of bookmakers deciding to centralise orders for the Racing Post Betting Shop edition and the decision of Menzies Distribution to act as a sub contractor for Citipost. While the FOBT ruling will be bad news for bookmakers – many of whom will be forced to close – it will, hopefully, be good news for members as it is highly likely that consumers will return to their stores to purchase future copies of the Racing Post.
“It could also put into doubt the agreement that Menzies has with Citipost. The NFRN will work closely with the Racing Post to ensure that sales of both the Betting Shop Edition and the standard copy come back to our members.”
Further dissatisfaction from members shared with Racing Post
30 August 2018
At a meeting with Racing Post executives last week, NFRN Vice President Stuart Reddish and Head of News Brian Murphy shared further dissatisfaction from members affected by the new distribution arrangements for Betting Shop Display Edition and impressed upon on the publisher the need to find an acceptable solution.
The Racing Post insisted that independent retailers were a vital part of its business and stressed that it wanted to work with the NFRN to help drive sales in members’ stores.
Previously it had tabled some proposals outlining positive ways in which the Racing Post and NFRN could work together. The NFRN advised that these were still under consideration but Mr Reddish emphasised the need for more work to be done by the Racing Post to find new ways for members to be involved in distributing copies of Betting Shop Display Edition to bookmakers. The Racing Post agreed to explore this.
Meetings with Menzies and Citipost continue to be pursued.
Racing Post responds to members’ concerns
18 July 2018
Following high level talks with the Racing Post on June 28 when the NFRN laid bare members’ disappointment and frustration over the publication’s new distribution arrangements to some bookmakers, the NFRN has now received a response which proposes some positive ways in which it can work together with members. The NFRN is now giving this response due consideration.
Senior NFRN officials also met with Citipost last month and we are currently awaiting its response, which is expected to contain further details as to how members could regain lost sales or take up opportunities to expand their businesses by delivering other items at a fixed cost.
We continue to seek a meeting with members of the Menzies Distribution board.
NFRN airs Racing Post concerns at high level talks
29 June 2018
The NFRN has this week held high level talks with both Citipost and the Racing Post to address NFRN members’ issues.
Speaking afterwards, National President Mike Mitchelson said: “During our discussions with Citipost we put forward a case for members to deliver copies of the Racing Post Betting Shop Display to bookmakers along with other consumables but with the billing still being undertaken by Citipost. This proposal is currently under review.
“At our meeting with the Racing Post we laid on the line members’ anger and dismay and warned that its credibility had been damaged by the new delivery arrangements. We reminded the Racing Post how supportive NFRN members have been to its publications previously and asked them to consider new ways to reward that support. The Racing Post has agreed to consider a proposal.”
To read more about our dispute with the Racing Post download our updated Q&A document here
Statement from Racing Post regarding Citibet activity
29 June 2018
Below is a statement from the Racing Post.
The Racing Post is aware of the situation regarding Citibet acquiring Betting Shop Display Edition accounts previously supplied to by independent retailers. Citibet are an independent organisation that provide roundsman services to various businesses, including bookmakers.
The major bookmakers have long sought to centrally control their costs and petty cash-based expenditure, such as newspapers, for all their betting shops. When considering some bookmakers have thousands of shops, this is a significant amount of money and impossible to audit when cash-based.
The customers involved have chosen to enter into a contract with Citibet for the supply and delivery of several items including the ‘Betting Shop Display Edition’, a contract that the Racing Post would not have visibility of.
The Racing Post value independent retailers, who are a vital part of the industry, and understand the challenging nature of the current climate. We, as a business, are intent on helping to drive sales within independent retailers and are working with the NFRN in this regard.
We are also in discussions with Citibet regarding the issue. The Racing Post do not discriminate against, nor favour, any retailer or roundsman. However, if a customer wishes to change supplier, that is the prerogative of the customer.
The Racing Post are more than happy to continue working with the members of the NFRN and wish to have a mutually beneficial, long term relationship.
Concerns grow over Racing Post distribution
15 June 2018
The NFRN is aware of growing concerns among members regarding the decision by the Racing Post to further continue an alternative and direct distribution route for its titles to reach the marketplace
We will be organising a meeting with the Racing Post at the earliest opportunity to discuss members’ concerns, particularly concerning the damaging impact this will have on counter sales.
We also intend to meet with the news wholesalers who have taken over the contracts to distribute the title to express our displeasure.
The NFRN remain engaged with CITIPOST to ensure that where possible, any opportunities for members to continue serving these customers are progressed.