David Prosser: The Tote race is now too close to call

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The Independent Online

Outlook Sir Martin Broughton is lining up the ducks as he battles to be allowed to buy the Tote from the Government. Having secured the support of the racing industry ahead of Betfred, his only rival for the Tote, Sir Martin yesterday revealed that his offer is now 100 per cent underwritten by the private equity group Oakley Capital. That answers those who wondered whether he could put his money where his mouth is.

The Government makes its final decision next week and it's going to be difficult. Betfred is thought to have bid more – but will ministers be prepared to risk the wrath of the horseracing industry, as well as a group of Conservative MPs with courses and stables in their constituencies, by taking the money?