Horseracing has differing fortunes across Europe


HorseracingAn Italian minister is to start taking action to halt the decline in the country’s beleagured horseracing industry. Francesco Saverio Romano, Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry, is to put on another crisis meeting in order to halt a slide that has seen turnover fall by more than 10% annually over the past four years. In addition to the accelerated decline the amount of illegal races has also increased.

“It is a sector employing 50,000 people that needs to be supported and helped by working to reorganise the structure of the industry but also by providing the necessary resources,” Romano said at the beginning of June, according to GamblingCompliance. “I hope within a month to be able to do something for the horseracing industry.”

Some of the Romano’s plans include giving gambling regulator AAMS more control over racing and give organizers more flexibility.

“You have to unlink the betting from the racing at the racetrack, because the audience at hippodromes has dropped by more than 90 percent,” Romano added.

AAMS has already proposed, as part of a memorandum of understanding with French regulator ARJEL, liquidity sharing. Italians who have set up their own events are said to have done so after becoming increasingly weary of the tote-based products on offer.

Meanwhile over in the UK, the Jockey Club saw turnover rise by 8% in 2010 to £138m. The group, who are racing’s largest commercial organization, also provided £13m representing almost half of all UK racecourses’ contribution to prize money. Simon Bazalgette, the group chief executive of The Jockey Club, said, “Our group performed well in 2010, in a year where the sport made progress on many levels, allowing us to increase our contribution back to British racing.”

The news comes only a matter of days after the Tote was sold to Betfred in an impressive week for the sport in the UK.