Cheltenham racecourse
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bet365: Cheltenham Festival’s influence is “bigger than ever”

It’s the most important week in the UK racing calendar, the “greatest show on turf”. Cheltenham Festival enamoured racing fans across the world as shock results twinned with a win for the favourite in the Gold Cup presented mixed results for fans and bookmakers. 

bet365 has told SBC News that the week of racing ended “honours even” between its trading floor and punters, after offsetting some dire results early in the week with a strong end to the four day spectacle. 

After 10 races, bet365’s trading team had lost all 10 but an odds-on favourite defeat for El Fabiolo had got the Stoke-on-Trent-based operator back on track. 

Wednesday’s race six was the best result of the festival at that point, with the finale a small loser. At the halfway stage, the operator was still behind, but remarked that “day three is usually ‘moving day’ as the golfers say” – that proved to be the case.

There were no complaints from the bet365 trading floor on day three, with four favourable results from seven races, before a huge win for Galopin des Champs provided the only dent in a strong final day for the operator. 

bet365’s Pat Cooney commented: “The greatest show on turf did not let us down! I was lucky to be at Cheltenham on all four days and was delighted to hear from so many bet365 customers, saying how they liked the daily Super Boosts, particularly as they were horses at the front end of the market and not for example a 10/1 chance boosted to 16/1.

“Three of our market-leading Super Boosts landed with State Man, Ballyburn and ‘Either Facile Vega or Grey Dawning’ all winners for our customers. As ever, Willie Mullins and Paul Townend were particularly popular with punters, with days one and two a dream for favourite backers.

“Interest in our 6 Horses Challenge also peaked throughout the festival, and lots of excited players gave feedback telling me that they loved the format and notably the generous consolation prize pools. Across the week we gave away £355,000 in jackpots and consolation prizes in what is becoming the most popular free-to-play horse racing game on the market.”

Despite the crescendo that builds around the first day of the Cheltenham Festival, in keeping with previous years, it was Gold Cup Day that saw the most bets placed, with turnover and slips increasing each day throughout the festival.

An incredibly important week of trading for UK-based operators, Cheltenham Festival is the first big opportunity for operators to deploy its year-wide racing strategy of showcasing its portfolio of standout products and promotions to both new and existing customers.

Undoubtedly a funnel to acquire new users, the week at Prestbury Park could be seen as a make or break week for the entire year for both operators and suppliers as they seek to entice new customers to their platforms with big bonuses and offers.

This strategy seems to have paid off, as Oddschecker data displayed that bet365 was at the top of the bookmaker click rankings on its platform, taking 19% of all ads to a betslip.

Yet, the operator is minded not to put all of its proverbial eggs in one basket, particularly when the opening two days provided a blow to its trading team. 

“As you can see from the multitude of offers and increased media coverage, the Festival’s influence on the industry remains as important as ever,” bet365 told SBC News. “While there is competition for share of voice, and wallet, we’re satisfied that our approach to Cheltenham 2024 was the right one.

 “Rather than ‘go big’ for one week a year, we’re driving an always on approach to horse racing where the best offers and the best prices are available each and every week.”

And it is important not to place all the effort into just Cheltenham, as attention swiftly turns towards the Grand National at Aintree. Another huge fixture in the racing calendar, the Grand National is another opportunity to acquire new users and provide engaging offers to do so. 

Catering towards a recreational audience, bet365 will continue its trend of offering NRNB ahead of Aintree, as well as a Super Boost each day of the Festival, with bespoke boosts on every single race.

Cooney added: “As we saw from the many high profile withdrawals at the Cheltenham Festival, we’re delighted to offer this customer friendly offer, in what is the greatest race in the world.”

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