Does the Offline Environment Matter in Online Horse Race Betting Engagement?

While the viability of many racing industries depends crucially on the sport attracting online bettors, relatively little is known about the role the local offline environment and fan interest plays in consumers’ online gambling. Using Finland as a data source, this paper investigates how off-track betting opportunities and the level of interest in horses in a local environment are associated with online horse race betting engagement. Whilst previous research has usually relied on self-reported surveys, we use objective data extracted from consumers’ online horse race betting accounts and data sources covering the horse race betting environment, equine statistics, and sociodemographic statistics of Finnish municipalities. Our findings suggest that the off-track betting environment and the level of interest in horses in a municipality appear to be predictors of online horse race betting engagement as measured by betting volume and the number of bettors.

JEL classification: L83, Z21