Wednesday, July 11, 2007Contact: Tamarisk Doyle, PR Manager HRI
045 842841
Irish Tote Betting up 21%

Horseracing Ireland report continued growth in all areas for Irish Racing. Half-year figures which were released by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) today show continuing growth across all sectors of the industry. On-course Bookmaker betting grew by 9% to €99.6 million while Tote betting grew by 21.5% to €26.9 million.

Attendances at Irish race meetings grew by almost 10,000 in the first six months of 2007, putting the sport on target to achieve its five-year target of 1.5 million racegoers per annum by the end of 2007. This will represent growth of over 210,000 racegoers since 2002.

Sponsorship maintained the consistent growth of recent years rising by 5.5% to €3.8 million, while total prize money grew by 4.5% to a new six month record total of €35.3 million.

The Spring National Hunt Festivals at Fairyhouse and Punchestown were the star performers, with Fairyhouse increasing by over 4,000 racegoers and Punchestown by 5,800, the latter coming on top of a record performance in 2006.

The Tote saw a return to growth from the Punchestown Festival onwards and figures were also boosted by co-mingling from At The Races (ATR) and the UK and French Tote (PMU), which contributed combined additional turnover of €3.8 million.

The total number of fixtures and races also increased, by two and twenty eight respectively, with 15,275 runners giving an average field size of 14.6. The average number of horses in training increased by 3.2% to 6799, reflecting both the strong demand for racehorse ownership and a growing foal population. This, however, has resulted in too many horses being entered for the available races with the result that over 11,000 horses were balloted out of races in the period.