Online interest in horse sports undergoing pandemic surge

AS bricks-and-mortar betting shops around the world have closed their doors in line with the coronavirus pandemic, bookmakers are undergoing a hopeful online surge in activity.

In recent days as horseracing has been running at tracks in Ireland, Australia and Canada and in the USA in New York, Ohio, Louisiana and Texas, the public has responded to meeting bans by placing their bets online while following racing broadcasts.

Horse sports around the world have been postponed indefinitely or strictly curtailed

“We didn’t think it would take off under these circumstances,” said Kip Levin, CEO of worldwide TVG horseracing network. “People are looking for a distraction.”

TVG’s FanDuel Racing app was downloaded in recent days more than in the previous three months, reaching sixth on Apple’s most downloaded list of free sports apps as remote wagering from its patrons grows.

Bookmakers have been under pressure in recent days as punters stay home in accordance with social distancing adherence. The decision to postpone the opening of US racing’s Triple Crown at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, USA was made in the interests of public health and safety.

“Its energy and its magic really comes from everybody being there to enjoy it,” said Churchill Downs Inc Chief Executive Bill Carstanjen in a recent conference call. “We will roll with the punches, but we feel very good that September 5th is the right date.”

The 146th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled to take place on 5th September, likely to be followed by the second and third jewels in the Triple Crown, the Preakness on 19th September and the Belmont on 10th October.

Kim Mullahey

Kim Mullahey is’s Ireland Correspondent. She holds an honours undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Chicago and has taught Adult Education Creative Writing Studies. Through a media career spanning nearly 25 years Kim has written and photographed regional news, national and international horse sports, fashion and lifestyle. Kim lives with her husband and son in Kildare Ireland, and a stray marmalade cat who has adopted the family.

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