Horse racing is among the most popular sporting and betting pastimes in the UK, with as many as six million people attending the races every year. Being the second most popular spectator sport in the country, it’s unsurprising that there is also such a large number of people placing bets on it. Naturally, then, horse racing is a complex business and there are many roles in bookmaking that are vital to the smooth running of one of Britain’s favourite betting events. Today, we’re going to look at how the business of horse racing works and what jobs bookmakers do in the industry.
Horse racing: The business
The business of horse racing involves a great many different layers, as you might expect. Before we even get into the actual racing itself, obviously there have to be well-trained, healthy horses available for racing in the first place. Horse breeding and husbandry is in itself a whole other industry, though equally many racetracks or racing businesses also operate stables of their own for breeding. Given that doing this means that you can breed more purebreds for free after the initial purchase is why many choose to breed horses themselves.
Start-up horse racing businesses generally are advised to start with at least 50 to 100 acres of land. Knowledge of breeds is among the most essential parts of operating a successful horse racing business. To start off with, you’ve got to know good stock to get hold of. You need to know winning breeds and how to care for them, so that you can yourself successfully breed winning horses.
So, there’s a lot that has to happen before racing itself can even be considered. Naturally, courses make their money in a variety of ways—obviously there is the cost of attendance, but betting is one of the most important ways that horse racing companies make money. Operating a betting business is, again, another industry all to itself in terms of the complexity and how much knowledge you need to do it successfully. Equally, with more than 2,000 different operators in the UK now on the high street and online, competition is fiercer than ever. Further afield there a roughly 300 betting sites in Ireland and these also contribute to jobs in both Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Let’s look at the jobs in bookmaking when it comes to horse racing.
Firstly, you have the first point of contact with the customers in the high street stores. Customer service personnel such as cashiers are among the most important of all the jobs in bookmaking when it comes to horse racing, or indeed any live betting event. They will need to have good knowledge of odds and to some extent of the events themselves. For more independent, off-track bookmakers, the same applies.
Data analysts are also a really important part of bookmaking jobs in horse racing. Calculating odds is naturally a very complex and involved process, and with as many as 50 high profile races in the UK alone over the course of the year, there’s a staggering amount of data to analyse. These analysts need to provide an accurate picture of the state of play, both for the sake of the bettors and the operators.
Given the importance of online betting to the modern horse racing industry, teams of people must also be employed in the larger operators to run this side of things. Whether from the purely technical point of view, in the case of the actual functionality of apps and websites, or from the point of view of how customers can bet in the first place, there needs to be a lot of people with specialised knowledge in order to make online betting work smoothly. For many online operators, this also means operating livestreams of the horse racing events in question, so that bettors who aren’t on the track can still watch the events live.
Horse racing is a complex business, then—as is betting itself. Horse racing requires large numbers of highly trained, knowledgeable staff in order to be successful. Despite some signs that attendance figures may be declining in the UK, the business of horse racing, in general, remains enormous, and so the jobs available in the bookmaking side of things reflects that. Bettors are in many ways savvier than ever today, and this creates bigger challenges for bookmaking staff.
There are dozens of roles in this industry, then, from the more familiar, customer service roles to the more specific and specialised roles. There’s something for people of just about every skillset to do in the horse racing betting industry, and a lot has to go on behind the scenes to ensure a smooth betting experience for the punters. Horse racing is perhaps one of the oldest industries in the world, having been a favourite event all over the world for thousands of years.
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