SBC News RMG model proves ‘resilient and reliable’ as racecourses gain £117.6m

RMG model proves ‘resilient and reliable’ as racecourses gain £117.6m

Racecourse Media Group (RMG) is handing over a sum of £117.6m to racecourses, with the income generated from its media and data rights in 2022.

The payments, which compare to £110m in 2021, derive from several RMG businesses, including betting shops, online bookmaker streams, pay TV channel, international betting and non-betting distribution, mainstream TV and data.

Roger Lewis, Chairman of RMG, stated: “The RMG model has once again proved to be resilient and reliable – in the face of significant challenges – producing record results, and performing ahead of expectations. 

“The results are a testimony and tribute to the vision and dedication of those racecourses who came together and stuck together to create, grow, and develop the RMG business.

Lewis is to step down from the Board of RMG this year, having joined the company back in 2012. His successor, Conor Grant, formerly CEO of Flutter UK and Ireland, will take up the reins as Chairman as of October.

Moreover, these 2022 results were achieved amid the process of the long-running Gambling Act review, during a time which many racecourses have been uncertain as to the regulatory overhaul’s potential impact on revenues. 

RMG has aimed to bring attention to the Gambling Act review via its platforms as well as working to ensure its consumers’ views on the subject were made available to politicians, regulators and media commentators.

The firm observed that the review has led to bookmakers ‘ramping up’ levels of affordability checks, which has resulted in a ‘clear and material’ reduction in betting turnover from the early summer of last year onwards.

The impact of affordability checks – or ‘finance risk checks’ as last week’s White Paper proposed – on horse racing has been a cause of concern for stakeholders of the sport, which derives a large proportion of its income from the horse racing betting levy.

However, expanding the appeal of racing has also become a pressing issue for the sport. This has seen stakeholders search for new and innovative ways to widen the sports appeal and better engage audiences.

Martin Stevenson, CEO of RMG, commented: “We believe that innovation is key for the business and racecourses to help grow appeal and engagement with the sport, and provide a platform to deliver growth in licence fees to racecourses and the sport in the future.

“Beyond purely providing timing, the importance of tracking is that it provides a wealth of real time data that the business can now utilise to develop new products and innovations. These include the roll-out of in-play betting on RMG’s content, currently deployed by BetVictor and William Hill, and with more bookmakers in the pipeline.

“Another key application of tracking data is to help create stimulating, insightful data – a suite of new facts and statistics – to engage our audiences and support betting markets.”

Stevenson added his belief that RMG’s Self Betting Terminals (SSBTs) could serve as a new engagement tool for racing, pointing to the success of the technology for retail football betting.

He also emphasised the success of free-to-play games, which RMG has developed with Flutter Entertainment’s Paddy Power bookmaker, as well as the potential of influencer-driven social media marketing.

“With media increasingly being consumed through digital channels, driving innovation is key to growing audiences and engagement through these platforms,” he concluded.

“This approach blends well with our focus on strengthening the core capabilities which have enabled us to grow to where we are today, ensuring the business remains ready for the future.”

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