Horse racing is one of the traditional sports in the UK with its history dating back several centuries to the Roman Era. It also has the second largest number of spectators in the UK next only to football. The major horse racing events in the UK are the Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot which attracts more than 200,000 fans every year from across the globe. Also, it is watched by millions of horse racing fans across the globe. Horse racing is a major sport which generates more than 3.7 billion pounds in revenue for the British economy.
You can find many youngsters fiddling with their betting slips and old folks smoking their cigarettes in these crowded race tracks. A pinnacle of the horse racing season in the UK, the Cheltenham Festival alone attracts more than £1 billion revenue in gambling over the 26 horse races conducted over the 4 days of the event. This is a great time for bookmakers to make money and we can see a lot of horse racing facing fans going crazy and betting on their favourite horses. The bookmakers say that they make more businesses in these 4 days than they normally do in 3-4 weeks of the usual time. The horse racing festivals attracts the best horses from across Europe and it is one of the popular sports events in the UK.
Though the horse racing viewership has seen a decline in last few years, it has again picked up momentum, thanks to the online betting sites which attract youngsters and newbies into the business. Another popular event which attracts even more viewers is the Royal Ascot which is a thoroughbred horse racing event conducted for 5 days at Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire, England. Royal Ascot 2018 was a high-profile, iconic event with world-class racing mixed with high fashion and loads of entertainment which started with a huge crowd on 19 June.
This event is attended by the British Queen and other members of the Royal family including Prince Philip. The event hosts six high-class races and various tournaments including the Commonwealth Cup, the Gold Cup and Group One Diamond Jubilee stakes and attracts more than 300,000 horse racing fans. The total prize money is a whopping £6.5 million for the winning horses and several bookmakers like William Hill are sponsors for this iconic horse racing event.
Many gamblers also have turned their attention towards horse race betting in online casinos. Recently an industry-wide initiative was launched to boost the popularity of horse racing in the UK which was titled as “Racing for Change”. This initiative focused on enhanced marketing and promotions, reduction in the entry fee for younger adults to racecourses and also simplification of racing schedules. Horse racing is facing tough competition from other sports like football and cricket which attracts more youngsters.
The gambling companies mention that 15 years ago horse race betting accounted for 90% of the overall gambling business in the UK, but it has declined a lot in last few years and fallen back to around 60%. The traditional bookmakers like William Hill are also concerned about the rise in taxes and impact of exchanges which has reduced their business. Still, the hard-core horse racing fans are trying hard to keep the traditional sport live by attending all the events live and betting on their favourite horses.
With more than 60 licensed race courses in the UK, hundreds of racing events conducted every year and millions of fans from across the world, the multi-billion-pound horse racing industry may not die anytime soon. Also, youngsters feel it’s more fun to wager on horses using the online betting sites and they like to watch the live streaming online rather than visiting the racecourse. The number of horses participating in the races, the number of events and the prize money is also increasing every year which is bringing in more viewers.