Dog and Horse Racing – UK – October 2007

Abstract

Dog and horse racing are highly unusual among UK sports in that almost all aspects of their operation are driven by the needs of the betting industry rather than those of either their participants or spectators. With the two sports' domination of the off-course betting market under unprecedented threat from an ever-expanding range of alternative betting products accessible through more and more channels, it seems likely that current levels of betting industry support will not be sustained in the long term. The changing nature of gambling is also adversely affecting racecourse attendances, leaving long-term reliance on the industry for revenue looking doubly risky. Courses have invested heavily in revenue-generating facilities in recent years, but the question remains: can these ever replace bookmakers' funding or will they merely compensate for declines in it? This report examines the hypothesis that: "dog and horse racing must establish themselves as spectator sports first and betting products second by attracting new audiences and developing new raceday revenue streams". To achieve this, the report assesses the size and shape of the UK markets for live dog and horse racing and examines the factors that influence consumer decisions on whether to attend a live event. It assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the market, as well as the underlying reasons. Consumer behaviour and attitudes towards dog and horse racing are also explored and tracked over time.

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