Following the comments of the Irish bookmaking industry appearing to tell a dark tale of job losses and shop closures after the recent government tax increases, the industry could be hit even further in the New Year after Britain’s racing TV shuffle.
Currently, Racing UK have a majority of British racecourses in their stable while At The Races show the rest as well as all live Irish meetings. From January however, ATR becomes Sky Sports Racing, though still free to view, while RUK will become Racing TV and will feature all races run in Ireland.
The reason this move has been met with consternation is the fact that RTV as it is now called already has a packed schedule and it’s clear to all that there is no way it can show Irish racing in the depth it deserves.
Rather than their presenters spending quality air time at the track, discussing every runner in detail and interviewing the trainers, mostly RTV will be cutting to the track at the last moment for commentary or even showing races simultaneously on a split screen.
Comments from the firm that punters will be happy to view online and that RTV is now the Netflix of horse racing are very wide of the mark and the bigger implication could be that people from inside and outside of Ireland who previously liked to bet on live races simply now won’t bother.
Last minute gambling made possible during the internet betting age means plenty of viewers wait to hear the thoughts and the interviews of the excellent Gary O’Brien, who has moved across to RTV as excepted, before they place a bet but now without his extended insights trackside during racing many will simply not bother.
We’re not naïve and know that TV companies like any other private entities working within racing are looking after their own interests, but racing does keep shooting itself in the foot and by awarding Irish coverage to RTV it has gone and done it again.
At the sharp end of sports betting and writing for the past 20 years, Gary Christie uses his vast experience and expertise to provide content for TVG, Mr Green, CasinoEuro and many others. His professional betting activities cover horse races in the UK, Ireland, France and the USA.