|British bookmakers have announced a £8 million downturn in profits, mainly from Internet and telephone betting, since Attheraces ceased broadcasting, it emerged this week. Denied their daily fix of televised horseracing, it seems punters have been far less inclined to reach for the phone or stake their money online. Easter Monday, traditionally busy, was a particularly depressing day for bookies, with not one of the eight British meetings, or the Irish National, on television and the telephones remaining deathly silent.|
One top bookmaker told The Sun: 'Our telephone turnover is down by 25 per cent. The industry has lost £8 million in a fortnight. If people can't watch races at home, they will not bet. It is very worrying”
However, news this week that twenty major racecourses have signed to form a new venture, The Horse Racing Channel, should offer a glimmer of hope to our forlorn bookies. This is the plan for a new, subscription, digital satellite and cable television service that the promoters are promising will offer 'the best of British racing' every day.
Attheraces’ failure has prompted the major courses to look at a way of launching a channel which would allow them to retain management and control of their media rights. The main hurdle, however, remains convincing all fifty-nine courses to come on board.