Racecourse Wishlist  We continue to cover a wide number of racecourses on RaceDays.co.uk , and in doing so become accustomed both to what makes a racecourse a truly great experience for those attending and also what improvements can be made to keep punters coming through the turnstiles. In these days of online gambling and sports channels aplenty, bricks and mortar venues need to raise their game in ensuring that they stay relevant in 2019 and beyond!

 

Decent on course pubs

It all seems a bit makeshift on some of the racecourses, when really there’s nothing like having a nice cool pint with mates after putting a bet on, especially if the view of the racecourse is second to none. Plastic glasses, long queues, sub par interiors are all commonplace on many courses, even in pricey executive or members areas. It’s a bit much considering how expensive it can be to go to the races!

 

Entertainment

Now this is an area where some racecourses have definitely upped the ante in recent years. Some, like Newmarket racecourse, have really found the sweet-spot by offering a day at the races followed by a live show by performers such as Will Young, Tears for Fears, Olly Murs and the like. It really does help you to ‘make a day of it’ and can be really good value for money!

Can the entertainment value be dialed up yet further though? Well at Yarmouth Racecourse they have a tie-in with a local casino, where you have a free bet if you present your race course ticket. Perhaps courses could go one step further and get permission to have an onsite casino, ready for the end of the race day. Or have offers that tie in with an established online casino such as  https://www.bestcasinositesonline.com/ . The sky is the limit really, they just need the ambition to explore these options.

 

The Comfort Factor

Many racecourses fall down in this department too. Watching a race in some racecourse stands is a bit like scaling Ben Nevis, just without the sense of achievement once you reach the top. Hard concrete steps, as easy to fly head first down as sit down on can be a challenge too far for some of our more veteran racegoers! It’s often not much better if you intend to get closer to the action either. Some bring deckchairs, and it can fast turn into an impromptu maze to even get to the rail. There definitely needs to be a degree of sanity and organisation put into this area that isn’t currently present!

 

Great Grub

This is really variable by course and some with poor records in the past have got their act together in recent years, but there is still work to be done. The main issue with food at race courses is excessive pricing (it’s already expensive to get in) , lack of options (often chips or nothing!) and small portion sizes (would you like one chip or two, sir!). As I say though, I think a tipping point has been reached where some racecourses are starting to become more punter friendly with the variety on offer, so let’s hope that process continues. An ice cream van and a bloke with a potatoe in the adjacent van doesn’t quite cut it anymore. Anyway, that’s enough moaning for now!

Is it really the end of Horse Racing as we know it?

Is horse racing facing an existential threat?

Photo by: Unknown / CC0 1.0

According to a former top level industry executive, the sport and general industry of horse racing in the UK will soon face an “existential threat” that could put its long-term future at risk.

Richard Flint, former Chief Executive of gaming company Sky Bet recently informed the Racing Post that horse racing would become caught in the crossfire of any threats to the real money gaming and betting industry in the UK. He claimed that should the practice of bookmaking be targeted by opponents to betting and gambling in the country, anyone who would think that racing itself would be “immune to scrutiny” is “naive”. Flint believes that any negative changes to the 2005 Gambling Act would do “vast harm” to the revenues generated by the racing industry.

A mutual partnership 

The practice of bookmaking is tied into the long history of the sport of racing, dating back hundreds of years to the 1790s. Nowadays, the practice has been transformed by the digital revolution and forms a lucrative vertical in the global iGaming industry, with numerous platforms and websites dedicated to placing wagers online. Even casino and poker gaming brands like PokerStars, which is well known for its portfolio of real money gaming solutions, enabled betting on horse races through its platform.

Is it really the end of Horse Racing as we know it?

Bookmakers and racing go hand in hand

Photo  by: JohnPickenPhoto / CC BY 2.0

 

However, according to Flint it’s this association that could most put the horse racing industry at risk in the UK. Flint’s concern is that the negative view held by some leading politicians and policy makers on activities like making sports bets online, or playing a game of online poker, will overpower other perspectives when it comes to decision making  – “I think it’s a dangerous moment (for betting and racing) because there are more politicians with a very negative view of the industry than there are with a positive…

Recent changes are warning signs

Flint believes that recent changes made to real money gaming and betting policies, both here and in Europe, are warning signs that racing could be the next thing that campaigners and politicians turn their attention to.

Here in the UK, the law reducing the maximum stake allowed on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to £2 from £100 has come into force over the past few months. According to Flint, the focus is now on online gaming and football wagering, with racing likely to be next – if they’re successful…it will be on to the next thing, which could be betting on racing.”

The ban in Italy on sponsorships and advertising related to real money practices has also recently come into force, with Flint adding that should something similar happen in the UK it would take racing off terrestrial TV (and) do vast harm to racing’s finances”.

These two changes are being held up as examples of the intense scrutiny and regulation faced by sectors within the gambling industry, and as far as Flint is concerned racing won’t be immune to either. He’s calling on racing to become a “critical friend” to the industry, in order to form a new partnership to face and deal with this before it becomes the aforementioned existential risk

Will greater regulation really harm racing? 

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) recently said in response that it would continue to emphasise the importance of socially-responsible betting to the sport of racing, as well as the “significant implications” of any policy changes within the sector.

Just last year horse racing was declared a traditional pastime, which means it will be exempt from changes to rules on gambling advertising. So, will greater regulations in the UK really do harm to the finances and the future of the sport?

The speed at which the online sector has evolved means that examining existing regulations and potentially making changes is really only a matter of time – but that’s a natural response to such major developments over a relatively short period of time and it would be socially irresponsible to think otherwise. However, whether such hypothetical changes to regulation would effectively force the practice of bookmaking, and subsequently racing, out of existence is quite a dramatic overstatement.

The 2005 Gambling Act removed the distinction between the two practices of betting and gaming, so most of the campaigns for tighter regulations are actually calling for tighter boundaries between the two. It’s much more likely that the focus of future acts within the UK will actually place most of the regulation and restriction on gaming, since unlike betting it’s a sector where operators can’t lose. So if anything, both horse racing and bookmaking may benefit from those upcoming changes, not lose out.

Hamilton Racecourse  Hamilton racecourse is an award-winning thoroughbred racecourse located in Hamilton, Scotland. It was opened way back in 1782, and is owned and managed by Hamilton Park Trust. The racecourse hosts flat races from May to October of every year. Being located in the most idyllic grounds of Hamilton, it offers a venue suitable for
holding races throughout the year. It is not only a horse racing venue, but also an events venue. Its state-of-the-art facilities have made it a good venue for weddings, exhibitions and even conferences. Last year, the racecourse made
a huge investment in prize money and facility upgrades, a step that has attracted big names in the sport industry to Hamilton.

The racecourse has hosted several landmark events since it was opened up. For example, on the 18th of July 1947, it hosted an evening fixture, making it the first racecourse in Britain to stage a fixture in the evening. It also became the first racecourse to stage a morning fixture on the 8th of May. Many people across the country anticipate for race meetings at Hamilton. This is mainly because the races are grazed with good music and glamour. A live music performance is always expected from famous musicians. In 2013, the racecourse staged a JLS concert, which attracted a good number of people.

 

The most notable race held at Hamilton is the Glagow Stakes. This race is sponsored by the EBF Stallions and is run over 2,226 metres. It is a thoroughbred race, only open to horses aged three years and above. It take place in July of every year. Prior to its transfer to Hamilton, the race used to take place at York, and was held in May. This year, the racecourse will be holding a significant number of races. On 6th May will be the Totepool Family Day and gates will be opening from 11:30am.

Leicester Racecourse  Leicester racecourse is a race track located in Oadby, Leicestershire. It is owned by Leicester Racecourse Company
Ltd, and is well known for hosting flat and National Hunt races. Flat racing is where the horses race on clear tracks without any obstructions, whereas National Hunt racing is where horses race as they jump over hurdles. The course
was opened way back in 1883. Since then, it has been hosting approximately 31 race meetings every year, Family Fun Day and Ladies Day being among them.

Before the opening up of Leicester in 1883, races were held at the now Victoria Park. In the 19th century, the course staged the most famous races in the United Kingdom, which were the Portland Stakes and Prince of Wales Stakes. The most notable race that is held at Leicester is the King Richard the Third Stakes. This is a flat course race in which horses four years and above take place in the racing. The race usually takes place in April, and is run for a distance of over 1,408 meters, an equivalent of 7 furlongs on a straight track.

This year, the racecourse will host a good number of races. For example, the Gentlemen’s Day is scheduled for Saturday 28 April, with gates opening from 11 am. Tickets for this race go for 25 Euros. Monday, 28 May will usher in the Bank Holiday Family Fun Day. Tickets will go for 10 Euros, and free for under 18s. Lots of activities will be happening during this day, including face painting, horseracing and games such as crazy golf.

Situated on a huge track of land, Leicester racecourse is not only a racing venue, but also an events venue. It offers an outstanding venue for conferences, weddings and large scale exhibitions. It has a brand new event space called Kube, which comes with a massive capacity.