From as far back as the 12th century there has been horse racing taking place in the United Kingdom. It was not until the early 18th century, however, that the races began to feature more than a couple of horses in each one. Public spectators were finally allowed to place horse racing bets, and racecourses were founded throughout Britain, many of which remain to this day.
With this sudden and rapid expansion of the sport there became the need for a central governing authority who would define the quality of races and who would regulate the breeding of racehorses. In 1750 a group of people involved in the horse racing of that time met at new market to form the Jockey Club.
They agreed upon and created a set of rules and a code of conduct for horse race meetings throughout the land. The Jockey Club’s role was to oversee and control horse racing in England using this, and it became the first regulated sport in this country.
In the 19th century horse racing became the most popular sport in England, with millions of people spectating. This was helped by the increase of newspaper coverage around that time. Betting on horse racing at the courses was also becoming much more widespread, and the Jockey Club needed to enforce their code of conduct on the course bookmakers.
It was not until 1961 that betting outside of the racecourse became legalized, and high street betting shops were soon appearing in towns across the country. Television coverage in the 1950 s and 1960 s then meant that followers of horse racing could enjoy their sport without needing to attend the courses. Betting on horse racing had become so much easier and more accessible.
Over the following years, it has developed into the popular sport which millions of people enjoy today for the whole year round. Betting on horses today has added to the enjoyment and excitement which can be experienced by everyone, ranging from the professional bettor to those occasional punters who might only ever follow the famous annual Classics Races of The Grand National.
The Epsom Derby. Regular Family Days and Ladies’ Days are held at racecourses which have increased the popularity of spending a day at the races. The introduction of online betting via the internet has taken betting on horse racing to a whole new level of ease for the public. Numerous sources offer tips and guidance to read the markets and form and help to identify the best horses.
With 60 established racecourses in Great Britain there is always a choice of races for people to follow – just fewer than 1400 fixtures were held in 2010, either on the flat or over the jumps. Evening meetings and the introduction of all-weather courses at Infield, Wolves Hampton, and South well and Kemp ton over the last 30 years have ensured that horse racing can take place regardless of the conditions.
The sport generates over £10 billion in bets alone on this sport and, with the bookmakers generating in excess of £1 billion a year in profit, betting on horse racing is here to stay.