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Let’s Talk Gambling: Potential impact of proposed affordability checks

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Talk-Gambling-Potential Impact Of Proposed Affordability Checks

The Cheltenham Festival and Grand National are two of the busiest times in the racing calendar and are crucial for bookmakers and also the sport in terms of generating revenue. AllSported CEO, Alan Casey details why this period is so important and the benefits this surge in activity brings.

This time of year traditionally sees high turnover with Cheltenham and the Grand National, how important is this period for the sport?

It is by far the biggest time of the year for the sport. There’s a basketball expression where you can’t win a game in the third quarter but you can certainly lose it. A good Spring period which features the crucial Cheltenham and Grand National meetings can certainly set the tone for the rest of the year.

These few weeks provide a huge boost to horse racing where so many fans are glued to the action and subsequently placing bets which is providing turnover to the sport, where the majority of the top ten races of the year in terms of turnover take place in a short period of time.

The Cheltenham Festival is head and shoulders above every other meeting in the calendar. Of course the Grand National as a standalone race would top any turnover measures but for strong, consistent numbers Cheltenham would be the peak.

What trends do you see/have you seen from punters at this busy time of year?

There are certainly more multiples placed during the Festival, with punters placing the majority of their wagers at the start of the day, and if someone like a Willie Mullins or a Nicky Henderson has a few short-priced fancies running on the same day then the temptation is there from punters to enhance those odds and put them into a multiple or accumulator. 

Cheltenham of course has 28 races over the four days and for your recreational customers, they will have a bet on each race whereas for a standard weekend of racing they may settle on one or two races so there is a stark contrast in everyday betting habits and those preferences when it comes to the four days in March.

To what extent is the Festival an attractive betting proposition for operators outside the UK? Or how important is it for those on these shores?

We all know the significance of Cheltenham in the UK and Ireland but further afield, I don’t think National Hunt racing is as appealing to a global audience. The Derby and Royal Ascot probably carries more weight internationally because of the pageantry that sits alongside those meetings. 

The best horses from the UK and Ireland doing battle certainly has a unique appeal and there is a passionate following who invest their time in watching the biggest races throughout the season.

How damaging could the potential implementation of affordability checks be for the industry?

It’s a very important issue and this has been the elephant in the room for quite some time and it can only be a major worry for the horse racing industry. Without betting activity there is no sport, and the industry provides so much economically across breeding, tourism, hospitality, agriculture and more that it would be a huge blow to see certain restrictions be implemented. 

I always hoped it would be dealt with sensibly and for the issue not to be used as a political football but I am still hopeful there will be a rational conclusion reached. The Cheltenham Festival is a prime example where these restrictions wouldn’t be seen to full effect. 

You will have customers that don’t really bet all year and get involved during those four days in March and if they’re putting £200 in their account because it’s the one time of year they bet I don’t see how that can be deemed irresponsible so it’s very delicate and needs to be thought through properly. 

Finally, give us a tip for the Grand National….

I’m not known for my tipping as many people will tell you but I’ll take a stab at Corach Rambler to go back-to-back and follow the likes of Red Rum and Tiger Roll as repeat winners of the race. I actually fancied the horse to do the Cheltenham Gold Cup-Grand National double which was about 20/1 before the Gold Cup so I think he has the class to win it again. 

Hi, I'm Ross, founder of Talk Gambling. I've operated within the gambling industry for several years, primarily within the affiliate sector. I originally focused on design and user experience but in recent years I've pursued a passion for SEO, digital marketing and creating great content. Please feel free to get in touch and say hello!

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