In March 2021, the horse racing stopped due to quarantine measures, but shortly before that, the Cheltenham Festival was successfully completed with the participation of more than 250 thousand players. The event provided industry participants with a financial cushion for the period when many of the subsequent horse races were canceled. The market began to return to normal in June, however, due to the late start, the season turned out to be incomplete and abrupt, and in the first half of 2020, about 14% of horse owners went out of business due to unaffordable costs for their maintenance – from $ 4 thousand to $ 15 thousand per year. Bookmakers make up an important part of the industry’s economy: in Great Britain alone, about 100 thousand people bet on the races. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, bookmakers faced a large reduction in the number of players, especially against the backdrop of the cancellation of the large annual Grand National race, which brings in about $ 348 million in bets alone.
To compensate for the losses, the bookmakers staged an online tournament Virtual Grand National, and the proceeds were transferred to the UK Health Service. The tournament was attended by 5 million players, the profit exceeded $ 4 million. It was a good act on the part of the bookmakers, as well as an opportunity for them to attract new customers through successful marketing.