Prior to creating the survey the HBF consulted with the BHA with the aim of creating a survey that is mutually beneficial to both organisations. The result was a survey with 30 questions split over 5 topic headings as follows:

1. About You (Respondent Data) 2. Race Scheduling & Timing
3. Field Sizes
4. The Going

5. General Information

The survey went live on the 28th of March 2023 and was promoted through Twitter and the sporting Media, including an article in the Racing Post. By the time the survey closed on the 16th of April 896 responses had been received. This is a marked increase on the previous survey which received 256 responses, without the same level of promotion.

The Results

1. About You (Respondent Data)

The greatest number of respondents are Male (95.6%), aged 51 to 60 (31.8%) who place on average up to £10 per bet (31.9%) once or twice a week (47.8%).

It appears from the results that making betting on horseracing more attractive to women and the younger generation are areas for focus. The fact that only 5.7% of respondents are 18 to 30 is telling, especially as this survey was conducted via Twitter.

The number of respondents who bet everyday (42.2%) and those who place on average £10 and £25 per bet (30.7%) are not that far behind the typical respondent detailed above. Generally, the numbers decreased as the average bet value option increased, though 7 respondents did say they place £1001 or above per bet.

This section also had a free text question asking ‘Does your bet stake vary or stay the same? If it varies, please also tell us the factors you consider for determining the level of stake.’ There were a lot of responses which stated stakes stayed the same but a variation according to odds was also popular. Some of the more interesting responses included:

Varies hugely based on quality of race, strength of opinion, liquidity etc.
I use a points based system, stake depends on what I consider to be value. Strength of form and odds available/ease of getting on.
Low stakes on Saturdays, higher for festivals or if I go racing.
Varies according to class and standard of racing, low class low stakes.

Placing bets online is by far the most popular method. Apps on a telephone or tablet was the highest result (31.02%) but only just ahead of a desktop or laptop computer (30.74%). Betting on-course (21.97%) came in 3rd place ahead of betting shops

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(15.09%). A small number still place their bets via telephone call (1.16%). Worryingly, 4 respondents admitted to betting on the Black Market.

Question 6 asked “What type of bets do you place regularly (select all that apply) and the results are as follows:

Type of Bet

Responses

%

Win Singles

778

18.85

Each-Way Singles

661

16.01

Win Multiples (trixies, yankees etc.)

368

8.91

Win Accumulators (Doubles upwards)

363

8.79

Each-Way Multiples

311

7.53

Each-Way Accumulators

308

7.46

Tote Placepot

291

7.05

Ante Post Singles

282

6.83

Forecasts

165

4.00

Ante Post Accumulators & Multiples

150

3.63

Tricasts

94

2.28

Tote Win

72

1.74

Tote Exacta

70

1.70

Tote Trifecta

55

1.33

Tote Place

45

1.09

Tote Scoop 6

40

0.97

Tote Jackpot

36

0.87

Tote Quadpot

28

0.68

Tote Swinger

11

0.27

This illustrates how generally unpopular Tote betting is compared to betting with bookmakers. The responses to the next question illustrate how more than half of respondents either only place Tote bets on-course or not at all.

The responses to Question 8 help us to understand how important bookmaker bonuses/concessions are to bettors. Whilst bonuses/concessions have more importance when it comes to choosing with which bookmaker to place a bet, overall these things make less difference than might be imagined as the following illustrates:

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Question 9 asked respondents to rank bookmaker bonuses/concessions in their order of preference and the following illustrates the result:

Rank

Bonus/Concession

1st

Best Odds Guaranteed

2nd

Extra Each-Way Places

3rd

Odds Boost Your Selection

4th

Cashback if Your Horse Finishes Second

5th

Losing Stakes Returned as a Free Bet

6th

% Bonus on Winnings

7th

£10 Free Multiple When you Bet £10

8th

Boosted Odds on a Specified Horse

9th

First Past the Post/Double Result

2. Race Scheduling & Timing

The first 2 questions within this Section deal with the number of races bettors think there should be on a card and the number of meetings on a Saturday.

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The following question explored deeper the reasons for the responses to 11a and what bettors considered to be the optimum number of meetings for a Saturday. 4 meetings was a popular answer and some of the comments were as follows:

“4 meetings is ideal – more than that is hard to cover and leads to race clashes.” “Need time to study the form and enjoy watching. 3 meetings please, 4 at a push”

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“Would say 4 meetings on a Saturday is plenty and that includes evenings. People only have a

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certain amount to bet with and too many meetings get to saturation point and poor quality”

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“There are far too many meetings on a Saturday and the day is crunched into a three hour

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window. Why not have 2 meetings starting at lunchtime and 2 at 2pm”

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The next 2 questions dealt with higher quality racing on a Sunday and Sunday

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evening fixtures.

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Question 13 asked if from a betting perspective there are any times, days or dates where it would be good to have more horseracing. Overwhelmingly most respondents replied ‘No’ and some adding there is too much racing already. However, there were still quite a few who put forward Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Questions 14 and 15 considered how betting habits would be affected if there was less UK horseracing.

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When asked in the next question if there was less UK horseracing and you would bet more on other sports what would those be, the most popular answer was Irish Horseracing (67.5%). Football was the next most popular (41.9%) and French horseracing was in third place with 18.6%. Greyhound racing was an honourable 4th with 12% and USA horseracing (11%) and Other International Racing (8.2%) were in 5th and 6th place respectively. There was a long list of also rans including Golf, NFL and other US Sports, Boxing, Darts and Harness Racing.

Question 16 asked if UK horseracing can learn anything positive from other sports and the following is a sample of the comments received:

Appreciate your fans more. Appear to run the sport for participants and fans.

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To be more open, eg decs are constantly embargoed and that these days is so outdated and

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needs addressing.

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Promote the excitement of the sport and the equine and human superstars. The sport seems

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to be constantly on the back foot defending itself.

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NFL for example – huge tv deals to play Thursday Night Football, Monday Night football not

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just Sunday at traditional KO. If the product is strong enough tv, betting, customers will be

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interested.

From football and motor racing: learn to love data and invest in it.

3. Field Sizes

There were just the 2 questions in this Section, these and the responses are as follows:

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4. The Going

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Question 20 asked bettors where they get their going information and what might improve their confidence in the descriptions. The Racing Post is the most popular source of information and the BHA website gets a number of mentions, along with Turftrax. Twitter and other social media websites are also popular. It seemed respondents were more keen to tell us about where they get their going information than explaining what would give them more confidence in the descriptions but here are a few examples of the feedback received on the latter:

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Until the first race is run it’s all a bit subjective. A revised going description after the first

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taking into account times and jockey comments would be helpful. First races could be

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maidens/novices where horse’s going preferences are not yet fully established.

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If possible wait for reaction after the first given how many times the official description

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changes after a race

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Maps with a colour coding and up to 40 live / slightly delayed Going Stick readings. This info

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would inform my bet selection and increase the amounts I’d wager.

think regular updates throughout the day should be given on rainfall, temperature wind speed

etc.

Using an official clear consistent figure across all courses

5. General

This was the final Section of the survey and had 6 miscellaneous questions.

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Question 23 asked bettors to tell us their favourite race and racing festival to bet on with a short explanation of why. Most of the responses concentrated on the festivals rather than individual races, Cheltenham, Ascot and York all featuring heavily. Good quality racing, good field sizes, all horses are trying, better prices and liquidity on the exchanges all cited as reasons. Some of the named races are as follows:

Cheltenham Festival & the Champion Hurdle. The best take on the best and everyone is trying. Supreme Novice Hurdle, Cheltenham. Big fields, all trying

Chelt, Gold Cup and Betway Bowl.

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Coventry as Ascot love looking at the horses in the pre parade ring. Royal Ascot or any world

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pool meeting, World pool offers so much value.

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Coral Cup, Cheltenham Festival I love big field handicaps and you are guaranteed these at the

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Festival

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Welsh National – good field sizes with consistently right quality of horses for the grade, at a

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fun time of year.

The last 3 questions are all self-explanatory as follows:

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