Newbury Racecourse Chairman Dominic Burke has highlighted challenges facing UK racing despite an announcement of increased profits in its preliminary results for 2023.

Breaking down the numbers, Newbury reported overall revenue for the year of £18.96m, marking a 9% increase compared to 2022. Racing revenues also saw a significant rise of 8%, attributed to a surge in media rights income.

In 2023, Newbury saw a 13% increase in total prize-money, amounting to £5.82m. Additionally, there was a 14% rise in executive contribution, reaching £2.82m.

Looking ahead, prize-money at the racecourse is projected to reach £7m in 2024, accompanied by an executive contribution of £3.5m.

Burke said: “Despite this overall revenue increase of 9%, our reported 2023 profit before tax (excluding exceptional profit) was marginally above break-even, demonstrating the challenges the industry faces from cost inflation, as well as the company’s decision to make a significant investment into prize money. 

“This additional prize money and executive contribution commitment will also extend into 2024 with record amounts announced. Any future increases in prize money will be dependent on the profitability of the underlying business.”

Notably, the racecourse experienced this growth despite the challenge of three abandoned meetings throughout the year.

The preliminary report also highlighted a commitment to improving racecourse facilities, which Burke said had been demonstrated by a joint £1.6m investment in the Hennessy Restaurant shared with catering partner Levy Restaurants.

Newbury has also announced a change in leadership, with Shaun Hinds set to join the racecourse board as Chief Executive on 3 June, succeeding Julian Thick.

Burke concluded: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Julian for his significant contribution to the business which he leaves in a strong financial position and with a world-class racing facility.”

As pointed out by Burke, there are underlying worries in the racing industry, with perhaps the biggest one being the rollout of affordability checks. Earlier this month, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced its plans to closely monitor the government-mandated adoption of affordability checks across the betting industry.

With the pilot phase to begin on 30 August, the sports’ leadership expressed concerns about potential implications for bookmaker revenue due to affordability measures, which could subsequently affect its own financial stability.

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