UK horse racing fans are used to there being meetings held almost every day of the year. The pandemic has changed all that though. No meetings are being held in the UK and Ireland for the foreseeable future. That doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities to bet on horse racing.
A calendar in tatters
The month of April is an important one in the horse racing world. It begins with the Grand National at Aintree, one of the most popular races in the world. Then the flat season begins its build-up to the first classics of the season. Not this year though with the crisis bringing the sport to a halt.
The Cheltenham Festival was controversially held but soon after racing came to a halt. The first four classics of the season have been postponed, but it’s hoped that Royal Ascot may go ahead, albeit behind closed doors. It’s a situation none of us could have predicted, so what do we do for our daily bet on the horses?
There are many ways in which we can continue to bet on horse racing. This ranges from the remaining live events to virtual horse racing. If you are not familiar with virtual horse race betting, find more detailed information here. It’s a godsend for bookmakers.
International racing to the rescue
There are still horse races taking place in other parts of the world. Bookmakers and television stations are now turning their attention to Hong Kong, South Africa, the USA and Australia. Those countries are still holding meetings, and that means betting opportunities for gamblers.
Coverage of meetings such as Happy Valley, Will Rogers Downs and Gulfstream Park is nothing new to British gamblers. When bookmakers were allowed to extend their opening hours, they turned to America to provide betting opportunities for their customers. The arrival of the internet created 24/7 betting on the sport. If there were a race taking place, there would be odds given on it and the chance to get a winner. The horses may be a bit unfamiliar to us, but there are plenty of helpful form guides available.
In football, we have some international action to keep a whiff of interest going, notably in Belarus and Nicaragua, but that’s not helped the fantasy football market one bit.
A virtual winner
Even if there weren’t any meetings taking place, bookmakers still found a way to present horse racing coverage. Virtual horse racing has been with us for a fair while now. It’s another way to allow gamblers to get a winner. Again it has a link to the extended opening hours for bookmakers. Most UK meetings don’t start until the afternoon, so the morning is spent working out who to bet on and then placing those bets.
If only there was something similar for football, and our FISO Goals game could continue as normal.
To get more business, bookmakers started showing virtual horse racing. The horses may not be real, but any profits or losses incurred when betting on virtual horse racing are. High Street bookmakers began showing these races throughout the day and night. The same happened online as it became clear that they were popular and the latest chance for bookmakers to make more profits.
The graphics have improved as time has gone by. Virtual racing seems ideal for the situation that we currently find ourselves in. A constant stream of betting opportunities for gamblers who want to make some profits.
The Virtual Grand National
One of the most significant blows so far has been the cancellation of the Grand National. The race couldn’t even be held behind closed doors, so no chance for Tiger Roll to win the race for a third straight year. The thought of there being no Grand National at all was a horrible one, so the Virtual Grand National took place.
This saw the scheduled runners take part but in a virtual race with profits going to charity. It wasn’t the same of course and Tiger Roll only came fifth with Potters Corner being triumphant. The holding of the race did at least keep interest in horse racing alive and give gamblers the chance to place some bets.
What does the future hold?
Heaven forbid, we end up with the Virtual Derby in June, but it’s highly likely that might be the case. France is hoping to see the return of horse racing in May; perhaps we might get some kind of season after all.
Until that is confirmed though, gamblers will have to be content with overseas racing and a constant stream of virtual racing. This must be the case as the gambling industry struggles along with its High Street shops closed. Virtual racing, in particular, is one form of the sport that will keep both gamblers and betting companies busy until this crisis comes to an end.