RMG Extends Deal with SIS

Older readers may remember the days when the only horse racing shown in bookies was BBC or ITV coverage. No posh screens either, just a bloke with a piece of paper to write the latest odds on. Oh, and we can’t forget the crackling radio commentaries. Well, it’s all changed since then and a new deal between the Racecourse Media Group (RMG) and SIS may see even more changes on the way.

Another three year deal has been agreed between RMG and SIS. This runs from April 1 2023 to March 23 2026. It’s an extension of their current deal which began in 2018 that covers 37 British racecourses. Just how could this deal change your betting shop experience? In-play betting on horse racing might just be on its way.

It’s already available for most sports but not horse racing. Being able to place bets during the race you’ve bet on would certainly be helpful. Just how would this work though? We all know what it’s like trying to get a bet on just before the start of a race. Why do so many leave it to the last minute? How swiftly will you be served during a race though before the odds totally change?

The pandemic has of course caused many a problem for betting shops. The thought of it being the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the bookies being shut was a terrible situation. Closing the bookies is believed to have cost SIS between £9 million and £10 million last year. The hope is that now the shops are open again they will be back in profit in 2021.

Martin Stevenson is the chief executive of RMG. He knows only too well the importance of revenues from licensed betting offices (LBOs). The extension of this deal will make the rights even more valuable. He said that: “This deal guarantees quality, core content for bookmakers in UK and Ireland until 2026, while ensuring there is minimal ‘leakage’ from the sport, in line with RMG’s ethos of returning its profits to the sport.”

SIS chief executive Richard Ames is delighted with the deal. His view is that this will “continue to deliver excellent value for racecourses and bookmakers with a collaborative approach to growing the value of horseracing.” He added that the deal will continue the excellent relationship that has developed between the two companies since 2018.

Also pleased with the news is Jockey Club chief executive Nevin Truesdale. He believes the agreement “represents the best possible LBO rights arrangement for our sport”. It’s also good news for owners as the betting revenue helps lead to higher levels of prize money.