Richard Flint, the Chief Executive of online bookmaker Sky Betting & Gaming (SB&G), has issued a stark reality to the UK racing industry, stating that consumer betting changes have made it hard for the bookmaker to promote the sports ‘from a business point of view’.
Although SB&G subsidiary Sky Bet is a committed partner to the UK racing’s Authorised Betting Partner (ABP) scheme, Flint stated that the sports faces ‘an unprecedented demographic challenge’, as younger betting consumers overwhelmingly wager on football.
Speaking at the Gimcrack Dinner in York, Flint backed his statement with figures, detailing that ‘racing is the favourite sport of just 13 per cent of our customers, a third of the number of our over-55s’.
“A quarter of our customers are under 25. Nearly all of their betting activity is via a mobile device. Even desktop computers are old-fashioned to them. Those customers are 17 times more likely to bet only on football than only on racing.”
Flint stated that the trend was likely to be repeated throughout SB&G UK market competitors such as Ladbrokes, Betfred and William Hill, who have yet to commit to the ABP scheme.
Commenting on the turbulent relationship between racing and betting, Flint notes that the market may simply ‘price itself out’, detailing that his firm sees four times the return on £10 wagered on football when compared to racing.
With UK racing lobbying to impose a 10% outright levy on UK horseracing bets placed via digital verticals, Flint warns racing governance that they may turn the sport in a ‘near zero margin’ market for bookmakers.
Flint ended his address by stating that racing and betting industry stakeholders had to work together to find a viable solution for the future of UK horseracing.