|In the UK there has been far less industry clamour for online bookmaking than there has been in the US – possibly because of the UK’s tradition of licensed, accessible betting shops (or ‘turf accountants’ to give them their slightly more distinguished English moniker) on every high street. |
But over the past year, the field of online race betting has become, if not crowded, than a least healthy. The UK horse racing market (according to an article by Sean Dodson in The Guardian) is now worth £6 billion and growing. Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Stanley Leisure have all set up internet betting sites over the past couple of years, but the crucial difference between those companies and attheraces is the latter’s live pictures and commentary from the majority of UK racecourses.
The coverage comes with having UK TV giants Channel 4 and BskyB on board, with the third equal partner being Arena Leisure. The deal includes national and international rights for 49 of Britain’s 59 racecourses, and includes over 4,000 hours of live racing coverage per year. As of May this year, AtTheRaces will launch a sister TV channel in May, when it will acquire the rights to SIS racing channel, a service with 35,000 subscribers. Some racecourses not covered by the deal will be covered by GG.com – who say that AtTheRaces did not offer the smaller companies enough money.
Glyn Williams, commercial director of AtTheRaces.com says that the challenge is to expand the range of bets available to UK gamblers: “our objectives is to bring a lot more racing into the UK, particularly Irish and US races. The other thing is that we intend to sell our media rights offshore as often as we can. There are probably 15 to 20 good territories that will take British races.'