Impact of Covid-19 on horseracing
INDUSTRY MEDIA RELEASE
SUBJECT: Impact of Covid-19 on horseracing
DATE: Thursday 2 April 2020
ISSUED ON BEHALF OF: Phumelela, Gold Circle, Kenilworth Racing, Thoroughbred Horseracing Trust and National Horseracing Authority
The national task team of the Racing Operators and the National Horseracing Authority have been closely monitoring and assessing the extremely fluid situation around the COVID-19 lockdown measures and resulting impact on the sport and business of horseracing.
Extreme measures have been introduced to ensure training centres can continue to operate nationally, thereby addressing the horse welfare concerns as well as ensuring that horses will be fit and ready to go when racing does resume. This has involved a massive effort on the part of all stakeholders who have pulled together to ensure that this is happening successfully. A huge thank you to all involved.
It is common cause that the lockdown measures, which have seen sport and horseracing suspended globally, have had an unprecedented and devastating impact on racing’s business, with revenue reduced to virtually zero. This has been exacerbated in the main by the temporary cessation of racing and the loss of the international revenue stream flowing therefrom, as well as the ability to bet on football pools.
A decision about when racing will resume locally after the lockdown is lifted will be dependent on government regulations as well as the timing of the recommencement of revenue flow to the Racing Operators. Given these extreme circumstances, it is likely that when racing does resume, a significant reduction in stakes levels will be necessary until a semblance of normality is restored to the business, which may not be instantaneous.
To this end, discussions will be held with Owners’ representatives prior to implementation. The Racing Operators are acutely mindful of the devastating impact that a further stakes reduction will have on the industry, but we trust that stakeholders will understand that this unfortunate eventuality is due to circumstances beyond anybody’s control.
The task team will continue to meet on a regular basis and will provide updates as and when deemed appropriate.