Grand National Becomes Biggest UK Online-Betting Event
The Grand National steeplechase at Aintree turned into the biggest-ever online-betting event in the UK, beating even the World Cup. For a long time, the horse racing championship has been a significant gambling occasion in the UK, attracting plenty of “one-bet-a-year” people. This year, they turned to online betting spots for their annual wager.
It was a two-fold historical event, as Rachel Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the Grand National, successfully handling the four-mile, 30-fence race on the back of Minella Times. Around nine million people watched her every move on TV, and approximately one-third of them placed online bets.
“… On the biggest betting day of the year, Rachael [Blackmore’s] mount was extremely well-backed by plenty of her fans across the country,” David Stevens, Coral spokesman, said.
Britain’s bookies reopened the following Monday, a few days late to the party. This unfortunate circumstance was quite lucrative for online betting places, however, as Flutter Entertainment – the owner of Paddy Power, Sky Bet, and Betfair – received upwards of £100 million in bets on the Grand National.
Entain, the group behind Ladbrokes and Coral, reported over 150,000 visitors to its sites for each minute of the race. 888, an online-only operator, tripled the bets it received in 2019. This punting outpouring was evidently spurred by the enthusiasm over the race’s return to the physical track. In 2020, the Grand National was replaced by a virtual experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though the virtual version was a success, gathering almost five million viewers and raising over two and a half million pounds for the National Health Service and its efforts against the pandemic, this year’s numbers show that it was, actually, nowhere near the real thing. The thrill of the chase and an unexpected win turned out to be the most precious part of the race experience, after all.
“In making Aintree history, she’s also sparked the biggest-ever payout on a female rider, but we’ll be paying out with a smile because her achievement is incredible and worth its weight in gold to the sport of horse racing,” added David Stevens.