The Jockey Club of Rio Grande do Sul has reported that revenues have dropped by 80% during the first three months of the pandemic in Brazil. The Hipódromo del Cristal in Porto Alegre suspended all racing activities from March 19 to the beginning of May.

As explained by the President of the Jockey Club, José Vecchio Filho, the current schedule features less races which currently take place every two weeks. Bets are made entirely online which has led to a decline in participation by traditional, older bettors.

In addition, the president explained that following the introduction of new sanitary protocols people cannot access the racecourse. That, he said, has been marked by a dramatic fall in interest in the sport.

“Our revenues have plummeted. We don’t have the usual flow of people that we used to and the physical agencies that offer betting, either. And our experience in the online gambling world is new as well. In 10 years we may get used to it, when land-based shops don’t exist anymore. However, this is a slow process,” said Vecchio Filho, according to Games Magazine Brasil.

The Rio Grande do Sul Jockey Club has 110 employees, 70 of whom are permanently trained, while the other 40 only participate on race days.

Operators have already committed to not cutting jobs for the time being or layoffs, as the government has contributed by suspending tax payments. However, the sector is still concerned about the future of the industry.

After the reopening, the racecourse explained: “Without income, our alternative is to immediately pay only the professionals (trainers and riders), assume the operating expenses (television, employees, etc.) and credit the prizes in the owners’ accounts, postponing the payment as soon as our betting agencies start operating again.”