The problems facing Britain’s breeding and racing industries have been well publicised. The majority view is that they can be cured by more of the one word that rules many lives: money. It would allow increased investment in product, people and participants, with everyone getting appropriate returns for their different risk profiles.

How that might happen occupies many a conversation, some of which lack fact and understanding of the landscape. For example, a Tote monopoly is suggested as the solution. That might have been an argument in 1962, when the Betting and Gaming Act was introduced, if ‘racing’ had seen the full potential and value of its product and taken equity participation, rather than relying on the Betting Levy Act of 1961 for its share of staging the show!

This levy arrangement generated £105 million in 2023-24. Around £3bn is annually bet off course on British horseracing – down from £5.74bn in 2009 – and the capital value of participating bookmakers is a double-digit multiplier of that number. If those who guided horseracing 62 or so years ago had chosen ownership participation rather than a guaranteed income, things could look very different today, even taking into account the increased competition for the betting pound.

A Tote retail offer, owned by the industry, failed to appreciate the potential that high street shops provided, both as an income stream and brand building exercise. It didn’t compete; it didn’t persuade the customer, or for that matter the industry, and therefore did not succeed. Racing can only look to the past and say “if only.”

The next lost opportunity to turn racing’s fortunes came when 1986 legislation allowed TV screens into the main area of betting shops. A consortium of bookmakers spotted the potential, formed Satellite Information Services (now Sports Information Services) and paved the way for today’s in-shop coverage and the racing channels Sky Sports Racing and racecourse-owned Racing TV.

No-one could have foreseen the explosion generated by internet and digital technology, but the industry stood back while the racecourses acquired media rights for a modest outlay. These now generate circa £300m annually, part of which is distributed as prize-money and the rest supports the P&L accounts and balance sheets of the UK’s 59 racecourses.

Taken together, levy and media rights income add up to £400m for racing’s product. In comparison, Australia, the current beacon for prize-money, allocates around £450m a year, a not dissimilar sum, which underlines that it’s British racing’s own fault for allowing its future to slip into the hands of those who have interests other than the health and future of the sport.

So, having missed two potentially transformational opportunities, will racing do the same next time? There most certainly will be a next time, and maybe the biggest of all will be part of the British racing programme with global appeal, both from a spectator perspective and a betting option.

World Pool provides both options and in two short years is generating circa £20m from 17 to 18 fixtures alone. That’s one-third of all the Levy Board can make available from the betting industry, and that has been in operation since 1961.

World Pool’s majority customer base is Hong Kong, but there are other countries that may have the same appetite, which needs unlocking and developing. Macau and Singapore are two examples – the first-named has lost its racing industry while the latter will be closed in October – but both have punters demanding live racing and betting. A global betting platform in which British racing retains an ownership stake is not just blue sky thinking.

Additionally, and just as importantly, as AI-powered entertainment grows, consumers still relish the drama of live action and sport has seen its value to media companies soar in the recent past, simply due to the potential value to these platforms. British racing has yet to scratch that surface.

Be assured, then, that help is on the way and the TBA Board alongside the Thoroughbred Group are closely involved, and in some cases leading the way, to explore and deliver these exciting and transformational opportunities in a form that secures the future of British racing in all parts and for all time. Third time lucky, perhaps?