Bookies expect £200m gamble on Cheltenham

Bookies expect £200m gamble on Cheltenham

Monday, March 9, 2015 Totally Gaming

UK bookmakers are expecting to see £200m ($302m/€278m) wagered on this week’s Cheltenham Festival, one of the country's main horseracing events of the year.

Ladbrokes, which reported the figures, believe that between £150-200m was wagered on the four-day event last year. Ladbrokes posted a 14.4% year-on-year drop in stakes on racing for Q3 2014, with a 7.7% fall in Q4.

However, the company also said in its recent financial results for 2014 that wants to ‘build on its leadership position’ in UK racing, and has a clear marketing plan, including sponsorships and special offers, for Cheltenham.

Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Donohue told TotallyGaming.com: “The Festival is one of the most significant events of the year for us and it’s a week everyone within Ladbrokes looks forward to.

“We continue to sponsor the feature race on Thursday, the Ladbrokes World Hurdle. It's a race we are incredibly proud of and thanks to the likes of Big Buck's, it's firmly etched in Festival folklore. It has a wide open look this year which means it is certain to be a huge betting heat and we will have another compelling offer for the race on the day.

“The Thursday offer combined with our big concession for Wednesday means Ladbrokes customers will be spoilt for choice for the entire week.”

Bookies are bracing themselves for what Ladbrokes is calling ‘Trepidation Tuesday’ with four much-fancied favourites taking part on the opening day, and heavy backing of champion jockey AP McCoy, who will be taking part in his final Festival.

William Hill recently cited big losses in racing as a stand-out negative impact on its full-year results, adding that it was able to rely on more steady sectors such as gaming.

William Hill saw a four-per-cent drop in wagering on horseracing over the course of 2014, with gross win down from 27 per cent to 24 per cent. Racing accounts for 52 per cent of over-the-counter turnover at Hills, although this is down from 59 per cent in 2010, with retail gross win at 20 per cent compared to 25 per cent five years ago.

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