The horse racing industry is making a slow recovery, due to online betting.
Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has seen a decline over the past few years, but the annual statistics for 2013 show the racing industry is slowly stabilizing. Last year’s reports show export-led bloodstock sales have made the biggest progress, with an impressive 43% increase and earnings reaching EUR 133.4 million thanks to continued international investment.
There was a slight increase in commercial sponsorship and prize money, though these have only gone up by 1.6% and 2.5%, respectively. After average attendance dropped by 7.2% in 2012, last year’s statistics show a timid recovery, reflected by a 4% increase.
Online betting proves bad for business
However, all the racing indicators are still below their 2007 peak and overall on-course betting has dropped by 4.6%. After the massive 20.8% decrease reported for the previous year, this only means more bad news for HRI.
The betting yield has also seen a painful 67% drop since 2007, when it totaled an impressive EUR 282.3 million return. In 2013, figures were at a modest EUR 93.7 million and the news is especially bad for on-course bookmakers, who have seen a 6.9% fall in turnover. The drop is said to be caused by the increased usage of online sportsbooks in Ireland.
Even so, company executive Brian Kavanagh is happy to see the market stabilize, but is eager to see the impact new Irish gambling laws will have, as politicians are preparing to bring amendments to the Betting Bill.