Betting and Gaming Council members directly contributed £455m to British horseracing last year in levy, media rights and sponsorship deals, new BGC figures reveal.
In addition, bookmakers spent £125m on marketing to promote racing and betting through advertisements and partnerships, helping secure terrestrial coverage of the sport, support two racing channels and raise revenue for print newspaper titles.
Showing a significant rise on previous estimates, media rights payments alone have increased by around £45m since the previous year, totalling £340m in 2022.
Meanwhile, levy payments are projected to be £99m in 2022/2023 – up from £50m in the year 2016/2017, according to the Horserace Betting Levy Board.
These new figures dwarf previous estimates on the regulated sector’s direct contribution to horseracing, which had placed the figure at around £350m a year.
This record investment also enabled horseracing to use some of these revenues to deliver record prize money of £179.3m in 2022.
Michael Dugher, CEO of the BGC, said: “BGC members in the regulated betting industry are now paying more towards British horseracing than ever before, despite a 10.3 per cent reduction in betting turnover on racing in the last five years.
“These huge sums also come at a time when the regulated betting sector is under enormous pressure, not least in the form of recent measures unveiled in the Government’s White Paper.
“As well as being a world-leading great British sport, enjoyed by millions, just like the betting industry, horseracing is a vital pillar of the economy, important to countless communities across the country and supporting tens of thousands of jobs.
“There has always been a symbiotic relationship between betting and racing. Our two industries can only succeed and prosper in the future if we work in unison towards a shared goal of growing the sport as a product – especially in the face of a recent decline in betting on racing.
“These figures show that betting continues to bankroll the sport but it is not a bottomless pit. I know racing, just like any other sport and indeed our own land-based betting and gaming industry, is trying to bounce back post-covid in the face of seriously challenging economic headwinds – a task made even harder for racing and betting because of the decisions the Government deliberately chose to make in its recent White Paper.
“That is why BGC is fully committed to working together with the leadership of the sport, including the BHA and others, to ensure racing not only survives but thrives. Anyone who cares passionately about the sport, as I do, understands that racing must change. Future investment must come with reform.
“It is also important to note this funding to racing only comes from licensed bookmakers. The unsafe, unregulated gambling black market is a growing threat, and it makes no contribution whatsoever to horseracing.”
The figures are estimates covering the 2022 calendar year based on exact data supplied by the BGC’s largest members, which account for around 85 per cent of all GGY on horserace betting.
Horseracing is the second biggest sport in the UK, second only to football, with more than five million people attending around 1,400 fixtures annually across 59 racecourses.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has committed to reviewing the Horseracing Levy by next year.
The Horseracing Levy, which is administered by the Horserace Betting Levy Board, goes towards improving the sport, breeding and boosting veterinary care.
Betting operators are working closely with the British Horseracing Authority and racing stakeholders on much needed reforms to the fixture list and race programme which should increase commercial returns from the levy and media rights.
The regulated betting industry fully supports this once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernise horseracing so it can realise its full commercial potential.
In April DCMS unveiled the Government’s new White Paper on gambling reform, including a number of key measures the BGC had campaigned for.
Those included a new mandatory Ombudsman for the regulated sector, enhanced spending checks online and a new mandatory levy to fund research, education and treatment to tackle gambling related harm.
Betting shops currently support around 42,000 jobs, contribute £1bn a year in tax to the Treasury and another £60m in business rates to local councils.
The wider regulated betting and gaming industry contributes £7.1bn to the economy, generates £4.2bn in tax and supports 110,000 jobs.
Around 22.5m adults have a bet each month and according to the independent regulator, the Gambling Commission, the rates of problem gambling among UK adults are 0.3 per cent.
Meanwhile the online unsafe, unregulated gambling black market is growing in the UK, with the numbers betting on these sites doubling in recent years, and the amount staked in the billions.