GB bookmakers to pay additional streaming and data fees for horseracing
The additional payments will help racecourses fill some of the void left by the funding shortfall caused by the closure of betting shops in England and Ireland for the next month due to novel coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown measures.
Shops had also been closed in Wales for three weeks in line with the country’s ‘fire-break’ lockdown, while some Scottish shops have had to close due to local restrictions.
Bookmakers agreed to similar increased pricing in June and July when betting shops were closed during the first UK-wide lockdown, with shops in England having been closed from mid-March to 15 June.
While professional sport, including horse racing, will be permitted to continue during the lockdown, there is currently no sign of spectators being allowed back into sports events.
According to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), more than half of racecourse revenue comes from spectators, meaning they have missed out on a significant amount of income since fans were banned from attending in March.
“There has always been a close relationship between betting and racing. So, with the government’s ongoing Covid-19 restrictions affecting the sport so severely, it’s welcome that bookmakers are stepping up to further support the sport,” BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said.
“This extra funding for streaming and data rights will undoubtedly help racing’s finances for the next month and I’m delighted to see BGC members assisting the sport in this way.”
Nick Mills, commercial director at Racecourse Media Group, which is owned by 34 British racecourse shareholders and provides both streaming and data to bookmakers from 35 British and all 26 Irish racecourses, also welcomed the financial support.
“This will help compensate our racecourses for some of the revenues lost from our licensed betting office) business, while shops are closed,,” Mills said.
“This shows what can be achieved by racing and betting working effectively together, which is especially important in these times.”
Last month, the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) also agreed to contribute £31.9m in funding towards the first four months of British racing in 2021.