Jockey Club freezes prize money over fears of betting shop closures

The Jockey Club is set to freeze prize money contributions at racetracks over fears of betting shop closures.

The operator of 15 racecourses in the UK fears the British government’s decision to cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals could lead to the closure of up to 1,000 betting shops a year over a period of three years. Racing, which earns revenues from selling its media rights to high-street shops, fears closures could result in a £40m (€44m/$51m) to £60m reduction in revenues each year over a three-year period.

“Every independent estimate has us facing a significant hit to our revenue from reduced media rights income as betting shops close across Britain on the back of the Gambling Review,” said Jockey Club chief executive Paul Fisher.

‘We’ve had some tough decisions to make and we’ve chosen to prioritise our contribution to prize money.’

The Jockey Club is the second UK racecourse operator to reduce prize money. Earlier this week, Arena Racing Company, which runs Doncaster, Lingfield and Newcastle reduced prize money by £3m – a decrease of 16 per cent.

The UK government has said it will work with racing to find ways to mitigate the loss.