Horse racing is a hugely popular spectator sport around the world for millions of people and for many reasons. Some people enjoy going to watch horse racing just for the social aspect that comes with it, some go for the day out while others enjoy the sorts betting aspect of the races. One country where horse racing is extremely popular is Australia. Billions of Australian dollars are wagered throughout the horse racing season, and it continues to grow in popularity year on year.
Horse racing in Australia, like with most other countries, has been around for centuries. Established in Sydney in the early 1800s, around 130 years later the Sydney Turf Club was formed and races began. The spectator sport went from strength to strength after humble beginnings, and this is one of the reasons it’s so popular today. It’s not just a form of entertainment, it’s a part of Australian history that has involved generation after generation.
The Melbourne Cup is huge too. The country literally grinds to a halt to take in the race that is run over a distance of 3.2 kilometres. It’s arguably one of the biggest single races in the horse racing world as it even eclipses anything America has to offer. Furthermore, it is arguably bigger than the fabled Grand National which takes place in Britain every year. The Melbourne Cup is a race that wins out in terms of national identity every time, and it’s another key factor in the sport being so popular Down Under.
You can’t get away from the fact that the biggest draw when it comes to horse racing in Australia, like everywhere else, is the ability to bet on it. Sports betting on horse racing is one of the most popular past times in the country, and with Australia having the most race courses internationally; you get a feel for the sort of demand that is present and still rising. In fact during the 2015/16 racing season, close to $16 billion was wagered on Australian thoroughbred racing, and the numbers look very healthy this season.
There are currently four ways in which people can go about placing bets on the horses. They can use a licensed on track bookmaker which sees fixed odds for wins and placings. There is off track betting too, where the odds aren’t fixed. There’s also SP bookmaking where the punter wages against the odds offered by the bookie and there’s online betting too. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see established and trusted brands like Unibet, Palmerbet, TAB Sportsbet and being quite popular with the local punters. And so, with plenty of ways to gamble, it’s certainly a factor in horse racing being so popular.
In answer to the original question, it’s probably more accurate to suggest that it’s a mixture of Australia’s history with racing; as well as how popular it is with gamblers and those who just enjoy the sport for what it is. You could also probably say that without the history, there wouldn’t be the popularity levels that have built up over time; but it’s also the genuine public enthusiasm for the sport that helps it continue to grow today.