Another good Cheltenham Festival is in the books and whilst the four day series of event saw some jockey’s taking a tumble, things stayed fairly quiet through 28 races and
attendance didn’t seem to suffer because of the coronavirus.
The success of the events was reflected in the amount of wagers seen and online activity definitely picked up for Smarkets in particular. Thanks to the Cheltenham Festival the sportsbook and its SBK app hit some new benchmarks.
The festival’s final attendance count was around 251,684 turning up this year, compared to last year’s 266,557–not a big change, given all aspects. Since the festival has been running for 160 years, this means that it is an significant part of local culture.
Those attending practically offset the 5 percent decline, and Smarkets saw a large portion of the movement. On the first day of the festival, March 10, the number of regular active users jumped by 257 percent, setting a new high for Smarkets. However, the number of weekly sign-ups rose by 178 percent, which also set a new high.
Those rises have brought in more money from gambling. The overall value traded was £ 120 m ($148.3million). Which led Jason Trost, founder and CEO of Smarkets, to say: “Now that we have two competitive products in Smarkets and SBK, I am prouder than ever of the service we provided for our users this Cheltenham. This was accomplished with a stable platform, record-breaking numbers for SBK users, as well as total traded volume of £120m. Thanks to our leading technology and clear focus on price, we once again offered the best odds on all 28 races compared to the SP [standard price].”
SBK delivered better revenues and returns relative to some other sportsbooks, according to Smarkets. It suggests that a wager of only £ 10 ($14.83) on all 28 winners of the Festival will produce £ 2.524.20 ($3.119) more than most sportsbooks would anticipate. This was also expressed in events like the Foxhunters Chase, which had It Came To Pass gelding looking at 239/1 odds, compared to the 66/1 SP leading up to the race.
Cheltenham Festival’s success will keep Smarkets motivated to expand. In September of last year, the company entered into the US market and Trost adds: “Looking to the year ahead, we are excited to bring SBK to the fledgling American market having acquired licenses in Indiana and Colorado, alongside building on the great momentum we have achieved in the U.K.”