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Cost Of Going Racing

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  • #2294
    Longchamp Lad
    • Total Posts 35

    I feel I’m slightly cheating here as I was inspired by the recent thread on Newmarket being used as an Ascot replacement and this is only my second post. But in my mind this raised the whole question of entry fees to racecourses

    Next Sunday is Arc day with something like 5 Group 1s plus some Group 2s (horror of horrors, there might even be a 0-110 handicap in there somewhere). Entrance fee to the equivalent of Tatts is 8€, or about £5. And there’s a free bus from the nearest Metro!

    Last year I had the honour of paying £13 to get into Folkestone (nearest to the Channel Tunnel) for a mid-week meeting (which, I have to say, was thoroughly enjoyble, but hardly in the same class).

    Added to this, all Sunday racing at Longchamp and the other Paris tracks during the season is free entry (apart from the Arc day). So you want to watch the French Guineas or the Moulin or the Ganay? – all totally free.

    Of course, we don’t have the presence of a free market in the betting ring – everything is the Paris-Mutuel (equivalent to the Tote). But in these Internet days many UK bookmakers are providing decent markets for the main races here (and it’s interesting to see the arbitrage opportunities on British horses running here -they tend to be higher value on the PMU than with the UK bookmakers, but avoid the sprints where the French know the Brits are well in front).

    Maybe I’m biased as I live within half a furlong of the 7 furlong start at Longchamp, but I can’t help wondering whether the French have at least got one thing right.

    ricky lakericky lake
    • Total Posts 2358

    they have  indeed , our racing is a rip off pure and simple !!!, but i think theres going to be a backlash soon , prices are crazy here

    enjoy Longchamp , you are very lucky


    • Total Posts 919

    Don’t start me off on one of my pet topics!.<br>Obviously the pari-mutuel monopoly subsides admission fees in France and attendances are not huge anyway.<br>Forumites connected with the betting industry will doubtless tell us how good the bookies in the UK are for freedom of customer choice and competition.<br>However for those of us who follow the game, enjoy the spectacle and only have a small punt  racing is IMO way overpriced in the UK.<br>At my local track admission is £14 minimum plus racecard plus beer at £3 per pint plus any food plus any bets. This pricing is unchanged to watch mid-winter, banded, AW, matinee dross!<br>Good to see that the Ascot meetings transferred to Newbury and HQ got dismal turnouts.Perhaps the highly paid racecourse PR and marketing people will get the message!

    Maxilon 5Maxilon 5
    • Total Posts 2432

    I’ve raced over the Atlantic on several occasions. Some places – Delaware Park for example – are free to get in. The rest I went to are relatively cheap. (£2.50 at Laurel and Pimlico, for the equivalent of Tatts).

    They assume, like Towcester’s free thinking executive, that you’ll spend the entrance money on other services in the track. It needs looking it, but they never will.

    • Total Posts 472

    Whenever you pay for admission to the races, you are in effect paying for the right to bet with bookies.<br>Sorry this isn’t a new observation, but a lot of people still don’t realise it.

    Racing Daily
    • Total Posts 1364

    Quote: from Zorro on 11:49 pm on Sep. 27, 2005[br]Whenever you pay for admission to the races, you are in effect paying for the right to bet with bookies.<br>Sorry this isn’t a new observation, but a lot of people still don’t realise it.

    Wow, I feel so privilaged to be betting with the rails bookies LOL  Especially the one that always tries to overprice the market on all races.  Have you ever noticed that?  There is always one that is running a 170% book on every race.  Cheltenham, Newmarket, there is always ONE that is trying it on.  Usually the old guy with the flat cap and tan coloured trenchcoat.  He is usually around the age of 75 or so with grey, balding hair  ;)

    • Total Posts 59

    Hi there I moved to Singapore from the UK a few mlonths back and feel the need to balance the books here a little

    My cost of entry even to the hospitality areas is about £7 – buffet lunch – glass fronted table

    However the annoying thing is watching the horse you backed at value tumbling in price before the off – which impacts on my ability to get a better return on my investment which impacts my entertainment. This component allied to the much higher quality of racing mfeeling is that this is the difference between the books option and the PMU option. Why cant I pay for the pleasure of punting with the books if I want- equally why cant we get away with the class linked enclosures at uk races and charge everybody entry fee of x dependant on enclosure type and if you want to bet with the books you pay an additional y – seems best policy to me.

    • Total Posts 295

    Not sure I agree Zorro. You assume that everyone going racing is betting on course or going racing mainly to bet Tatts.

    The Racecourses are businesses and have to make money. Unless they are going to get that money from subsidy or in other ways then it comes from admission fees. Relative to other spectator sports i.e. Football I think we still have value.

    My comments relate mainly to the smaller courses but I do accept that the big meeting are pricey. Then again it is not as if you are doing this every day or week.

    • Total Posts 472

    Kevin, in other countries the tote turnover finances the courses. So much so that some tracks in Australia and US offer free admission. Bookmaking is illegal just about everywhere except in Britain and Ireland – although it is permitted, on course only, in Australia.<br>It’s the cost of the off course bookies that you’re really paying when you have to fork out 45 quid or whatever for the privilege of watching live racing.<br>Conall illustrates the downside of a tote monopoly. Otherwise it’s all up.

    • Total Posts 6939


    I can’t bring myself to complain about the admission prices of race meetings when one considers what VFM they represent set against £40 for a Premiership match (90 mins, might be a dire match), or a Test Match seat (longer day but weather more likely to intervene).

    In writing a review for another forum back in May, I made a few displeased noises about the increasing prices at Cartmel – £12 to £17 in the last two years, a much larger percentagewise increase than any other track over the same period, I would guess – but in retrospect I can’t even crab about that too much. In an era where meetings have now to be bid for, to some greater of lesser extent, Lord Cavendish probably had the near and mid-term threats to little courses like Cartmel, and the need to have a "fighting fund" with which to buy meetings they’d hitherto always had, when alluding to the price hikes in his recent programme notes.

    Plus, for a follower of the jumps, where else beyond Great Britain and Ireland am I going to get such a rich diet of the racing I enjoy all year round, regardless of whether the admission is half or a third of the price?


    The patron saint of lower-grade fare. A gently critical friend of point-to-pointing. Kindness is a political act.

    • Total Posts 3420

    I think that some meetings at the supposed very top end (Royal Ascot, Cheltenham) and also at the rock bottom end (lingfield AW) are too much, but in the middle range im not complaining too much…

    Newmarket champions day last year was £18 and a good day at newbury or Sandown is about the same. Not unreasonable…

    Tote monopolies maybe some peoples dream but not mine. Not been that enamoured with it when ive raced in france and Hong kong.

    • Total Posts 1665

    "Whenever you pay for admission to the races, you are in effect paying for the right to bet with bookies."

    Zorro is quite correct, and it really is that simple.

    Re Conall’s post, regarding Singapore, I was there for 6 months during 1963/64 (I was in the reading room at the Singapore Swimming Club when I heard that Kennedy had been assassinated), when admission to the racecourse at Bukit Timah was 3 dollars (about 7/- or 35 p, when UK admission charges were around a pound, or a little more). The facilities and atmosphere were first class.

    As for the "class linked enclosures" in the UK, quite honestly, that’s out of date.

    Generally, there’s a maximum of 3 different prices, with many courses offering just 2 enclosures – Members and Tatts – my local course Lingfield being an example. Of the major spectator sports in this country, I don’t knoiw of many that routinely offer only one or two prices for admission. In football, for example, you’ve got at least 3 – annual members, home supporters and away supporters.

    • Total Posts 295

    Zorro, Lets agree to disagree on this one. If it were that simple then why bother going to the racecourse at all? Just go to the bookies and save yourself a few quid. I still think that racecourse prices are reasonable value compared to other live sports.

    I tend to think that too many people in this sport just don’t want to contribute to the game. They want it all free and complain about the cost of RUK etc. The realities are that the racecourses are there to make money and if that is not coming from subsidy then they have to do so at the entrance gate. Successfull courses are doing so by selling the whole experience to the public which is more than just a punt at the Tatts.<br>

    ricky lakericky lake
    • Total Posts 2358

    thing is though , I fervently believe that the policy of overcharging will very soon be voted upon by people staying away , as for comparisons with football , its just not racing is it !!!

    Some courses get it right , Southwell for instance Tatts has been about 8 quid for yonks , whereas Lisa and her merry mob just dream about full houses and music nights at 25 quid a go , !!!

    There is very little common  sense applied

    ps Calder is 2 dollars and free on dark days for simulcasting !!!  

    Ricky :biggrin:

    • Total Posts 295

    Thing is Ricky that the comparison with football is real. this is exactly what the racecourses are competing with for entertainment.

    Horse racing is in the entertainment game.

    As for people staying away just look at the corporate hospitality boxes and tables in your racecourse restaurants. These people are paying through the nose for a days entertainment and are not those only interested in betting. Racecourses are evolving to attract more than those wanting a punt at the tatts. If they had to survive only on punters without subsidy then they would soon be in the grubber.

    You may see it as "over charging" but many think it reasonable value.

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