ARC abandons on-course bookie fees until 2021
Arena Racing Company (ARC) has pledged to bring betting rings back to life by removing the fees for all on-course bookmakers for the remainder of the year. The announcement follows the government’s decision which said that fans will be allowed to return to live sporting events in tier one and tier two areas starting from 2 December, after lockdown restrictions are eased. The coronavirus pandemic has hit on-course bookmakers hard, with all but a few unable to work since the start of the first lockdown in March.
“We were pleased to receive the latest update from Government, and very much look forward to welcoming spectators back to our sites over the coming weeks. We await further information regarding regional tiers, and to ascertain which venues we will be able to admit spectators in England, but we are in the process of making sure that racing fans and owners can enjoy the experience of coming racing again as soon as possible, in a safe manner.” Said Mark Spincer, Managing Director of ARC’s Racing Division.
Racecourses in tier one areas will be able to admit up to 4,000 spectators, or half of their capacity, whichever is lower. Meanwhile those in tier two can have 2,000 spectators, or again, half of their capacity.
“Whilst racing behind closed doors has been hugely important for the racing industry, we’re acutely aware of the impact that the restrictions of recent months have had on on-course bookmakers,” Spincer added. “As such, we will waive the entrance and marketing fees for any of ARC’s 52 horseracing meetings from December 2 to the end of the year at which we can admit spectators. Equally, we will look at what we can do from January 2021 onwards to work with and support our colleagues in the betting ring.”
The racing sector has come under considerable financial pressure over the last few months, no thanks to the lack of racegoers and the closure of betting shops, therefore the return of spectators will come as a huge boost for the sector as a whole.
The decision to welcome spectators has been backed up the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), which has pledged to maintain the highest possible safety standards, protecting local communities from transmission of the virus.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has backed the decision to welcome spectators back into arenas, and has pledged to maintain the highest possible safety standards in order to protect local communities from transmission of the virus.
Keith Johnson, a prominent on-course bookmaker, said: “I would like to thank ARC for this support of on-course bookmakers during what has been an incredibly difficult time. This tangible support will be for the benefit of many in the industry, and will be very much appreciated. As restrictions are eased, we can start to look to the future with more confidence and work together to bring a bit of a buzz back to the betting ring once more.”