British bookmakers might have to pay more if they want to continue showing horse racing from next year onwards.
According to the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), Entain, Flutter, bet365, 888/William Hill and Betfred – BGC’s five biggest members – will be given a media rights bill that’s projected to increase with £30m.
For comparison, each of the big five had to cough up around £270.1m for the live streaming rights to show races to customers and in bookmakers in 2022.
Now, forecasts are that this cost will rise to £285.3m (up 5.6%) by the end of this year, and then go up with a further 10.5% to reach £315.2m in 2024.
Michael Dugher, Betting and Gaming Council CEO, said: “BGC members are already making a record contribution to horse racing and these figures show that is only going to increase.
“This comes despite a reduction in betting turnover on racing in the last five years and a worrying decline in participation in horse race betting overall.
“Horse racing remains a hugely important, world-leading sport, enjoyed by millions of fans and like the betting industry it continues to support large numbers of jobs.
“I know racing is trying to modernise and reach out to new fans, while also trying to bounce back from the Covid pandemic and deal with some difficult economic headwinds, plus deal with the hit on its funding caused by the Government. The betting industry is dealing with many of the same pressures on our revenues and costs.
“The BGC and our members remain fully committed to working together with the leadership of the sport, including the BHA and others, to ensure a better future for racing. But the fact that we are making a record and growing contribution to the sport cannot be ignored.”
The BGC further added that members directly contributed £384m to British horse racing last year in levy, media rights and sponsorship deals, as well as £125m on racing and betting marketing through advertisements and partnerships.
Horse racing is currently the second biggest sport in the UK after football, enjoying an audience of more than five million and hosting around 1,400 fixtures across 59 racecourses every year.
Despite this, the sport’s popularity has declined a bit over the last few years, falling to 10% of the population betting on horse racing compared to the 17% in 2007.
To address this, betting operators are closely working with the British Horseracing Authority to discuss changes that can be introduced to the racing schedule that should increase its commercial value.
InsiderSport Insight: At the moment, betting shops ensure the employment of 42,000 people and add around £1bn annually in tax to the Treasury. The commercial value of racing remains integral to ensuring stability within this sector.