For a while, now many industry experts have said that the horse racing industry really needs to embrace new technologies to grow with the world and attract a younger audience.
It appears to be slowly but surely moving into the digital age, however, it now needs to take advantage of key areas such as virtual reality, augmented reality and blockchain, as they can all massively improve the sport and make it more attractive.
Artificial intelligence, which makes it possible for computers to analyse data and use it to predict future events; is now being used to predict the outcomes of horse racing. This is often done by processing large amounts of data in relation to the horses, past performance and race tracks and recognising where patterns have emerged within this data.
This could attract a new audience, who is more attracted to studying data to reduce the element of doubt and luck. This makes horse race betting a more skilful exercise which would help appeal to a younger market who is accustomed to skilled based games.
Technologies like augmented and virtual reality can really transform the audience experience of horse racing and help to reach a whole new audience in fact.
Virtual reality produces computer generated reality in which users can interact and augmented reality is able to bring digital information into the view of a user, usually as an overlay to a real-world image. They are both able to be used to enhance experiences and encourage people to want to visit the tracks, along with being able to tie it in with mobile devices.
At home, racing fans will be able to wear a VR headset and experience racing at home and then a different VR experience could then be available at the track.
AR will be able to enhance the viewing experience by applications offering viewers extra information on screen whilst watching a race, for example, in regard to the speed a horse is racing at, past performances and even its current heart rate.
It can also be used by those who actually work in the industry with the horses by providing information on how to deal with an injury a horse has picked up, or even by providing a heat map of the horse‘s body to show where it needs to be cooled down the most.
Blockchain technology can also be used to shake up the horse racing industry in a positive sense. This technology is a distributed ledger which creates a safe way to exchange assets, where any member would have to confirm a transaction before it is stored on the blockchain, making it very secure.
It could be used to buy and sell horses, but also exchange information on the past performance of horses and data on their age, health and even what medication and drugs have been given to a particular horse.
Blockchain also has the potential to affect the horse racing gambling markets too.
The online gambling market currently makes use of a very small percentage of blockchain enabled cryptocurrencies payments, with the most well-known one being Bitcoin.
However, in time, blockchain will be able to allow the growth of cross-border betting, as it will be able to provide completely secure transactions and will take away the concerns customers may have in terms of trust and safety when placing online wagers.
Many established horse racing and sports betting operators will be happy to embrace the technology, as soon as issues regarding legislation and volatility are addressed. Unibet, for example, is one of these established horse racing operators who would be happy to offer the option to their customers; as and when the market matures and settles down.
Therefore, it is clear to see that the leaders of the horse racing industry really need to embrace new technologies as the benefits the sport could reap from doing so are enormous and will provide advantages to everyone involved.