Illegal Betting Market Among Bars Facing Horse R3acing, Asian Conference Told

February 21, 2023 | illegal gambling

Collaboration is also needed to brand the code as a sport of the highest integrity, and not only wagering says chair Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges

Melbourne, Australia (February 19, 2023) — In a scene-setting opening address at the 39th Asian Racing Conference in Australia last week, Asian Racing Federation (ARF) chair Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges encouraged racing leaders to embrace change and collaborate more in the face of global challenges.

Speaking to an audience of more than 700 delegates from 35 countries, Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Engelbrecht-Bresges said, “As racing’s leaders, we must embrace change and we have to drive necessary changes more rapidly. We have to collaborate more to drive these changes from sharing our experiences to joint initiatives,” Engelbrecht-Bresges said.

Calling for joint efforts to uphold global standards in rules and practices to safeguard the integrity, he said collaboration was needed to fight the illegal betting market; to brand racing as a sport of the highest integrity — and not only wagering.

He also said racing needs more cohesive efforts to better market the sport and to expand audiences. This could be done through the creation of a new technology platform to enable racing to grow in the international wagering business via global simulcasts and the World Pool.

Engelbrecht-Bresges said combined efforts were required to build a technology platform to enable racing to embrace Web 3.0 development and to ensure relevance to Gen Z consumers while seeking ways to make racing more sustainable and reach Carbon Zero 2040 to ensure the long-term future of the sport.

Nine challenges

Pointing to key performance indicators such as rising average yearling sales prices, betting turnover, and prize money increases, Engelbrecht-Bresges said racing “has successfully emerged from the Covid-19 crisis and has shown great agility and resilience. However, beyond these figures, racing faces significant global challenges going forward which, cannot be solved without fundamental changes and strengthening of collaboration and joint efforts to address these challenges.”

Engelbrecht-Bresges said racing faced nine key challenges — industry fragmentation, integrity, illegal and offshore betting operators, social acceptability, competition from other sports, an aging customer base and engaging Gen Y and Z, branding racing as a global sport, sustainability, and human resources.

He asked whether racing can move on to “solve its structural problems and final strategic solutions to ensure its long-term viability” while also addressing climate change — but he remains optimistic about the sport’s future.

“While I have outlined what our key challenges are — which seem to be daunting — in light of the great resilience and innovation racing has shown during the pandemic, I see significant opportunities by embracing challenges and changes.”

In the second session of the conference business programme, Engelbrecht-Bresges pointed to a desired further advance of World Pool growth against a backdrop of a widening gap between sports and racing betting — and disturbing illegal betting growth at almost twice the rate of the legal market between 2019 and 2021.

“Global liquidity is the key for all pari-mutuel operators and in turn for racing industry revenue and updating racing wagering, integration protocols for a global platform are imperative,” Engelbrecht-Bresges said.

Hong Kong Jockey Club

SOURCE: Business Day.

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