Racing Media Group (RMG) will pay its racecourse shareholders a record £117.6 million from its commercial activities generated in 2022, despite what it said was headwinds from the UK government’s review of gambling.
The umbrella body’s payment to 35 racecourses comes from its media and data rights, which include live streaming of race meetings to betting shops, its Racing TV television channel and a deal with ITV for horse racing coverage. The payment is higher than the £110 million in 2021.
Last week, the UK government published its review of the 2005 Gambling Act with a white paper containing a range of proposals, including financial risk controls for online betting and improved controls for 18-24 year olds.
RMG, whose shareholders include Aintree and Cheltenham racecourses, said the review process has led bookmakers to step up affordability scrutiny, leading to a marked and material reduction in betting turnover since last summer.
RMG is chaired by Cefn Cribwr-born Lewis, former general manager of the Welsh Rugby Union and chairman of Cardiff Airport, who will step down in October. He first joined RMG’s board of directors in 2012 before being appointed non-executive chairman in January 2019.
(Image: Western Post)
Mr Lewis said: “On behalf of everyone at RMG I would like to thank all racetracks, owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, stable staff and our valued media, technical broadcast, commercial and gambling partners for their help and support in enabling RMG to play its role effectively .
“I stepped down from the board this year after joining the company in 2012. It has been a tremendous privilege and honor to have worked with so many wonderful people. I warmly welcome my successor, Conor Grant, former CEO of Flutter UK and Ireland, who will take up the reins as chairman on 1 October.
Looking to the future, RMG chief executive Martin Stevenson said: “We believe that innovation is key for the company and the racetracks to increase the attraction and engagement in the sport and provide a platform to drive track and field license fees and the sport of the future.
“A fundamental building block of technical innovation for the company is the deployment of a highly reliable and accurate tracking system, which we achieved through the award-winning Coursetrack.
“The importance of tracking is not only in providing timing, but also in providing a wealth of real-time data that the company can now use to develop new products and innovations. These include the rollout of in-play betting on RMG’s content, currently deployed by BetVictor and William Hill, and with more bookmakers in the pipeline.
“We have also significantly improved our broadcast output, with advancements in the virtual studio, the rollout of augmented reality graphics, the gradual transition to remote production and developments in the production of dedicated racetrack streams. This takes the TV coverage of horse racing to a higher level than other sports such as football and cricket enjoy.
“As media is increasingly consumed through digital channels, driving innovation is key to growing audiences and engagement through these platforms. This approach fits well with our focus on strengthening the core capabilities that have enabled us to grow to where we are today, keeping the company fit for the future.”
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