2015 was a record year for Scottish horse racing as thousands of visitors were attracted to the countries five race courses. As well as these facts, almost nine hundred people are currently in full time employment through the horse racing industry. As a result of improvements made within the industry, the Scottish economy has received an estimated £173 million.
It is thought that an influx of visitors from across the whole of Europe as well as south of the border have contributed greatly to this recent growth. Scottish racing reported of record prize money paid out throughout the year at Ayr, Musselburgh, Hamilton Park, Kelso and Perth race courses. Being Scotland’s second most popular spectator sport, there has been a long standing admiration between the two parties. However, last year’s records are being explained in part by improvements in the quality of tracks, as well as visitor facilities.
What the paying public more than anything want to see on race day however is the horses. Events such as the season opening, three day Perth Festival, are the type of events that bring in both large amount of spectators, as well as big money. With total attendances at Scotland’s five race courses reaching 308,258, an increase of more than 13 per cent since 2012, it is little wonder betting companies are now placing more emphasis on the Scottish market.
Scottish Racing Chairman Sir Ian Good has stated recently that “People love a day at the races, it’s safe, it’s fun and there’s a chance of winning with a small flutter.” With this in mind it is becoming more and more frequent for betting companies to offer the chance for customers to get a free bet for the race. The betting culture has always been associated with horse racing, all over the world, and companies such as Coral Interactive now offer horse racing odds across the UK, including Scotland. Betting agencies will now use the draw of a horse racing free bet to entice new customers.
The Scottish Grand National and the Ayr Gold Cup attracted over 40,000 spectators between the two of them, with prize money of £210,000 being paid out. Such figures, coupled with many of the venues becoming busy through an influx of corporate events, means that the industry is seemingly going from strength to strength. Scottish racing was recently well rewarded for its fine efforts at the Northern Racing Awards in Newcastle, and with three Scottish tracks in the UK top 12, things are certainly on the up for the sport.