As the UK betting industry prepares for a knock-out blow from the government over stakes allowed on fixed-odds betting terminals, the BHA believes horseracing will take on a more vital role for gambling operators.
According to the BHA “Horseracing will become more important to gaming operators as the revenues from machines are impacted by the restrictions”
That was the message passed on to delegates at the Asian Racing Conference in Seoul on Wednesday, when Brant Dunshea, the BHA’s newly appointed chief regulatory officer, delivered a presentation prepared by chief executive Nick Rust before more pressing matters prevented his leaving London.
Dunshea said: “With the current focus on the retail betting sector will come tough challenges for the racing industry, but with the impending increase in regulations on gaming machines, horseracing will become more important to gaming operators as the revenues from machines are impacted by the restrictions.
“The UK government has made commitments to support racing. That clearly needs to be delivered to support the grass roots of the industry, which provides such an incredibly large economic impact for the nation.
“Revenue from the retail sector is likely to decline in the medium term, as the profitability of betting shops is challenged, which comes with a switch to digital. However, the impacts will be transitional, and it is not expected they will come into effect until late-2019.”
Dunshea revealed forecasts suggested the fall in levy and media rights’ income as a consequence of expected betting-shop closures would be “in the order of £40-60 million annually”.
However, he added: “It’s not all doom and gloom for the British racing industry. While there will be a need for change to the future commercial model, racing and betting will be driven to work close for mutual benefit.
“The racing industry is supportive of the reforms to protect responsible gambling, and in collaboration with the betting industry it will work with government to ensure the sustainability and health of the industry.
“So, while there will be challenges, what comes from that will come innovation, collaboration between racing, the betting industry and government, and with that we anticipate will come incredible opportunities.”