is horse racing dying

Horse racing has faced significant challenges in recent years, with declining attendance, interest, and revenue. Technological advancements and changing societal attitudes have contributed to this trend. The rise of off-track betting and simulcasting has allowed fans to wager without attending races, while increased awareness of animal welfare concerns has led some people to question the ethics of the sport. Additionally, competition from other forms of entertainment, such as online gambling and streaming services, has further eroded the popularity of horse racing. As a result, many tracks have been forced to close or reduce their operations, leading to job losses and a decline in the horse racing industry as a whole.

The Horse Racing Industry’s Struggle

The horse racing industry has been facing significant challenges in recent years, leading to a decline in attendance and wagering. While the sport still has many loyal fans, it’s undeniable that it’s going through a difficult period.

Declining Attendance

  • Attendance at horse races has been declining steadily for years.
  • Factors contributing to this decline include competition from other forms of entertainment, changing demographics, and lack of accessibility.


  • Wagering on horse races has also seen a significant decline.
  • This is due to several factors, including the rise of online gambling, the increasing popularity of other sports betting options, and the perception of horse racing as a declining sport.

The decline in attendance and wagering has created a vicious cycle for the horse racing industry. As revenue decreases, it becomes more difficult to invest in improving the fan experience and attract new patrons. This, in turn, leads to further declines in attendance and wagering.

It remains to be seen whether the horse racing industry can reverse these declining trends. However, it’s clear that the sport is facing significant challenges and that it will need to adapt to changing times in order to survive.

Rising Costs

The cost of owning and racing a horse has risen significantly in recent years. This is due to a number of factors, including the rising cost of feed, transportation, and veterinary care. In addition, the cost of purchasing a racehorse has also increased, as the demand for top-quality horses has outpaced the supply.

Here is a table summarizing the rising costs of horse racing:

Veterinary care$1,000/year$2,000/year
Purchase price$25,000$50,000

Competition from Other Sports

Horse racing is also facing increased competition from other sports for fan interest and betting dollars. These sports include football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. In addition, the rise of online gambling has made it easier for people to bet on other sports, which has further reduced the amount of money that is bet on horse racing.

Here is a list of the key points regarding competition from other sports:

  • Other sports, such as football, basketball, and soccer, are more popular than horse racing in most countries.
  • Other sports are more accessible and less expensive for fans.
  • The rise of online gambling has made it easier for people to bet on other sports.

Animal Welfare Concerns

Horse racing has long faced scrutiny for its impact on animal welfare. Concerns range from:

  • Jockey injuries and deaths: Jockeys risk serious injury or death from falls and collisions.
  • Horse injuries and deaths: Horses endure strenuous exercise and can suffer severe injuries, including broken legs, heart attacks, and catastrophic crashes.
  • Medication use: Horses are often medicated to enhance performance or relieve pain, raising concerns about their long-term health and well-being.
  • Breeding practices: Horse racing’s focus on breeding for speed and athleticism can lead to genetic predispositions for injuries and health issues.

Public Perception

Public perception towards horse racing has shifted in recent years:

  • Increased awareness of animal welfare issues: Social media and animal rights campaigns have raised public awareness of the risks and suffering horses face in racing.
  • Decline in popularity and attendance: Public interest in horse racing has waned, resulting in declining attendance and revenue.
  • Alternatives to traditional racing: Non-racing sports and entertainment options offer alternatives for equine enthusiasts.
Horse Racing Attendance

Lack of Younger Bettors and Fans

The horse racing industry is facing a serious problem: it’s losing its younger audience. In the past, horse racing was a popular sport for people of all ages, but today it’s seen as something that’s only for older people.

  • In 2019, the average age of a horse racing bettor was 55.
  • Only 12% of horse racing bettors are under the age of 35.
  • This trend is continuing, with fewer and fewer young people becoming interested in horse racing each year.

There are a number of reasons why younger people are not interested in horse racing. One reason is that the sport is seen as being too slow and boring. Another reason is that it can be difficult to understand the rules of horse racing. Additionally, horse racing is often seen as being a gambling sport, which can be off-putting to some young people.

Age GroupPercentage of Horse Racing Bettors
Under 3512%
65 and over14%

Well there you have it, folks. Is horse racing dying? The answer is a resounding, “Not yet, but it’s on life support.” But here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of effort from all of us, we can help horse racing make a comeback. So if you love the horses, get involved. Go to the races, bet on your favorite horse, and tell your friends about this great sport. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you at the track!