Jockey Club braces itself for ‘financial challenges’

Coral Welsh Grand National Day at Chepstow Racecourse Image copyright PA

The Jockey Club, which runs the UK’s biggest race festivals, is braced for “financial challenges”, despite a tenth year of record profits.

Bookmakers have warned that tougher regulations on gambling could hit the racing industry through the closure of thousands of betting shops.

The Jockey Club has estimated the cost to racing could be as high as £50m.

The Club, which stages The Cheltenham Festival and The Grand National made £48m profit last year.

As a non-profit making organisation founded in 1750 and governed by Royal Charter, it ploughs its profits back into the racing industry.

Bookmaker closures would damage the club’s own money-making activities such as live coverage of races for betting shops.

The bookmakers levy which supports horse breeding, veterinary science and horse racing through the the Horserace Betting Levy Board is expected to be hit, leaving the Jockey Club to make up some of the shortfall.

Simon Bazalgette, The Jockey Club’s group chief executive said: “Our next set of results will include the first year of the impact of the changes in the gambling sector and we need to be realistic that we’re now into a time of financial challenge for British racing.

“If the sport as a whole collaborates, innovates and diversifies, we can come out of the other side in good shape.”

“The Jockey Club will do everything in our power to support the sport along the way.”

Prize money

In 2018 the Club contributed £27m to the sport’s prize money, which totalled a record £53.2m.

It promised to maintain the contribution from its own resources at the expense of other areas of investment.

Chief executive of Jockey Club Resources, Paul Fisher, said at the time: “We’ve had some tough decisions to make and we’ve chosen to prioritise our contribution to prize money because we know how important it is to racing’s participants.

“We will maintain this record contribution from our resources for as long as we can, which comes at a cost to other areas of investment, such as improving our facilities.”

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