Those of you who enjoy a go at the Tote Scoop6 might be wondering why there has been no reference to it on The Morning Line on the last couple of Saturdays. Well, it’s simply that Channel 4 Racing has withdrawn from promoting the Scoop6, a move that must put the long-term future of the bet in doubt. It says it is doing this for editorial reasons, but in practice it is more to do with bookmaker licensing regulations.
At the heart of the decision is the move of the state owned Tote service into private hands last year. Betfred, which now runs the Tote, is in competition with other companies, and there are compliance and licensing issues for Channel 4, as effectively they are giving free advertising/promotion to Betfred.
A Channel 4 spokesperson suggested that the move was part of the evolution of its Morning Line programme on Saturdays. “Following a regular editorial review of channel 4’s racing programmes, the focus and content of its shows has changed somewhat. This means the Scoop6 is not the editorial priority that it has been to date. In the future, when the Scoop6 is a particularly newsworthy bet, we will certainly consider making reference to it, along with other relevant betting initiatives.”
Totepool spokesman George Primarolo offered a more specific reason behind the decision. “Channel 4 has advised us that they’ll not be giving their viewers information on the Scoop6 for the foreseeable future due to compliance issues. We are obviously disappointed with their decision, as plenty of viewers watch Channel 4 Racing to see hoe their Scoop6 selections get on and the bet has been mutually beneficial to both the Tote and channel 4 Racing since its inception in 1999.”
That would be the case, as the bet was launched in partnership between the two, and one of the underlying premises was that it would receive heavy promotion in The Morning Line programme. Whilst Betfred will continue to publicise the bet, which saw £2 punter and ironing lady Agnes Haddock collect over £680,000 in 2007, you have to seriously question whether it will retain its popularity without a weekly dose of airtime on the television.