UK Racing shows concern over betting pre-watershed advertising ban

cameraThe Guardian newspaper reports that senior figures in UK racing are concerned regarding the potential UK government blanket ban on sports betting advertising pre the UK 9pm watershed.

Racing industry stakeholders are said to be particularly anxious with regards to its new £30 million four-year racing broadcast partnership with ITV which begins in January 2017.

The success of ITV as UK racing’s terrestrial broadcaster will likely depend on revenues generated through betting advertisements and sponsorship of its content.

A pre-watershed ban on betting advertising would severely impact ITV’s racing rights and business plan, as the broadcaster prepares to show 40 days of racing on its main channel in 2017, including UK classics The Grand National, Cheltenham, The Derby, Oaks and St Ledger.

Furthermore, Digital racing broadcaster At The Races will be another racing stakeholder negatively impacted by the potential ban, as its revenues rely heavily on betting advertising.

With its race schedule set during daytimes’, UK racing has a critical dependency on revenues generated through betting advertising, a pre-watershed ban would therefore be catastrophic for the sport’s finances.

Reacting to early speculation, Will Lambe, the BHA’s Director of Corporate Affairs requested for industry calm as the government had yet to present any plans or outlines relating to the matter.

“We first need to await details of the consultation and any proposals arising. However, it is likely that as part of any consultation that racing would be united in making strong representations for an exemption for horse racing content. These representations would be based on racing’s obvious interdependence with betting compared to other sports, and the nature of its TV coverage.”

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