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Online gambling impacts horseracing in the UK

racing ukThe British Horseracing Authority has published a report asserting that the racing industry contributed £3.45 billion to the UK economy last year despite online betting sites contributing to an overall drop in revenues.

The organisation’s Economic Impact of British Racing 2013 was prepared in association with Deloitte and found that racing’s overall contribution to the economy had fallen by 1.2 percent since 2008 although it still remained the nation’s second largest sport in terms of attendances with 5.6 million visitors last year.

The British Horseracing Authority contended that racing accounted for four of the top ten attended sporting events in Great Britain last year excluding the 2012 Summer Olympic Games and 2012 Summer Paralympics despite ‘exceptionally wet weather prompting a record number of abandoned fixtures in the summer’.

“British racing has faced and largely come through a significant test,” said Paul Bittar, Chief Executive Officer for the British Horseracing Authority.

“We were never going to be immune to the wider financial difficulties that still prevail but can all be extremely proud of the scale of our sport’s continued contribution to the British economy. Core industry expenditure of over £1.1 billion and a total economic impact of £3.45 billion are just the headline demonstrations of our importance.

“Resilience is a recurring theme throughout. This resilience is, however, no accident, coming instead as a result of the collective steps taken within the sport over the last decade, which includes over £950 million of capital investment.”

The British Horseracing Authority stated that the increase in online betting platforms hit overall revenues by allowing customers to compare odds more easily without the need to pay the 10.75 percent levy. But, the group revealed that earnings from media rights rose from £104 million in 2008 to £173 million last year.

“Racing is comfortably the second biggest sport in Britain after football by many measures including revenue generation, attendances, taxation generated and employment,” said Alan Switzer, Sport Business Group Director for Deloitte.

“Top-level sport now transcends national borders. The heritage and reputation of British racing means it continues to attract many of the world’s top horses together with investment from an increasingly diverse set of major international partners.”

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