Ben Keith, Star Sports: racing must be diverse, fun, and welcoming

Over recent years, the UK racing sector has faced a number of difficulties including cuts to funding, concerns over age-verification measures and engagement with a wider audience.

Speaking to Ben Keith, Owner of Star Sports, at Betting on Sports he explained that the on-course sector is doing everything it can to prevent under-aged gambling.

He said: “I don’t really think that any more can be done. I bet on-course myself at the festivals when it’s particularly busy. I understand that it’s against the law for those under the age of 18 to bet, and that is correct, however I know that all of the staff on my pitch certainly check those that look too young.

“We check their ID, and we know that other bookmakers are also checking. I’m certain that as an on-course bookmaker myself that we are all doing everything we can.

Attracting a new audience has also presented a major hurdle for the racing sector, with broadcasters opting to incorporate social media and fashion insights to attract a younger audience.

Keith continued: “ I think that ITV has put a different spin on racing compared to Channel 4, no better and no worse, just different. They have embraced more social media and fashion. So you see people like Chris Hughes and Matt Chapman, they caught a younger audience.

“I believe that this is very important. ITV is for the gala days, let’s be diverse. You’re not obliged to wear a top hat and tails or a trilby to go racing so let’s not give that impression. Purists can always watch racing on other days of the week.

“So racing needs to be diverse, be fun, be welcoming and avoid being sneery with difficult vocabulary which could otherwise put people off.”

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