What is it?

On day one of Betting on Sports Europe – Digital industry racing experts gathered for the ‘Racing line – time to innovate’ panel. The panel looks at whether the unusual circumstances around the pandemic has provided horse racing with an opportunity to grab more market share at a time when other sports are struggling to maintain a consistent product. It debates if punters have changed their patterns around betting on racing during this time period and addresses funding shortfalls made prominent by the pandemic looking into what can be done to maximise Levy yield. Finally, it analyses what lessons horse racing has learned in 2020 that it can take forward.  

Who is it?


Wiliam Woodhams, CEO, Fitzdares

David da Silva, CEO, EasyOdds

Paul McNea, Director,  iGaming Performance


Simon Fraser, SVP International, XB Net

What is being said?

David da Silva: “I don’t think that there are enough narratives, I don’t think there’s enough creativity or enough done to make racing more inclusive for the minorities or even to bring a contemporary edge to horse racing. 

“With the way that some of the US sports work by creating a more holistic entertainment product, horse racing certainly still has to go quite some way to evolve and challenge some of the other sporting groups. We’re all equally trying to grab the same share. We’re really open to working with other sports, bookmakers, data providers – anything that makes it more engaging for our users and gets them excited and energised is great. 

“We believe that betting is the highest form of engagement with the sport. It’s all well and good sitting back and watching it on your sofa, but if you actually had a small bet behind the outcome then you’re really going to pay attention. Gambling responsibly and doing everything the way that we do is a fantastic addition to the experience. We consider gambling as a conduit to that engagement and heightening the overall experience. 

“If horse racing wants to do more to attract that audience, it’ll have to work with other industry stakeholders to work out different ways to do it. Data is a big thing, as is information and overlays. From our experience, our biggest feature is our horse racing alerts where punters are notified of when their favourite horses are running. Data is key, but engaging punters really has to come from the industry.”

Simon Fraser: “The first big sporting event which returned after lockdown was the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park in New York. It was covered on NBC, as it always is, but the coverage this year was absolutely exceptional. That promotion of bringing the sport to a new audience has been very successful in the US. Working with FOX Sport and various other channels too to show racing was really an opportunity to engage those who wouldn’t typically look at racing, as well as those that don’t even consider racing a sport.”

Why should I watch it?

With the sporting industry having faced many challenges this year in regards to closures due to the pandemic, a question is raised as to if this has created a new opportunity for racing to engage with new customers and bettors from those sports. This is especially poignant since the UK has entered its second national lockdown and in the words of William Woodhams, there are ‘more eyeballs on the sport’ as people spend more time at home, and now is the time to build more excitement around racing.

The interesting comparisons are made with other racing models such as the US, looking into the ways in which they engage with racing customers stateside. 

Where can I see more?

Source: SBC Youtube Channel

Horse racing: the key to driving engagement