Racing Post Brings in QR Code Scheme

The Racing Post has introduced an innovative new QR code scheme, in a bid to boost its outreach in betting shops. Visitors to high street bookies can often pick up a copy of the horse racing paper in-store, to browse odds and catch up with the latest racing news. The new QR system will allow customers to continue to peruse the paper safely during the pandemic.

A smart phone showing a QR code.

Following the lockdown, many businesses have introduced QR codes as a safe way of sharing information and for track and trace systems. ©Pixabay/Pexels

Safer Access to Racing Post

The Racing Post has offered sports fans daily news for nearly 35 years. Publishing news about horse racing and greyhound racing alongside betting odds, the specialist paper has become a mainstay for lovers of the sport. The publication first took its content online with a website in 1997. Since then, it has remained abreast of modern technology, and now boasts a mobile app, social media feeds and podcasts.

Unfortunately, the daily paper had to take a step back in March, when it revealed that it would have to suspend its print edition. Concerns that readers could pass on COVID-19 to others through shared handling of papers in betting shops meant that it was safer to simply halt circulation. Thankfully, readers were still able to access Racing Post content via the website and app. For some racing fans though, access to the paper is still difficult.

The launch of the new Racing Post QR code system aims to remedy that problem, by making it easier than ever to access the publication’s latest news and opinion pieces. Customers at betting shops will now be able to download the daily newspaper directly onto their mobile by simply snapshotting a QR code. This method is far more coronavirus friendly than sharing a paper amongst many customers. It also means that more customers can read the Racing Post at the same time.

The launch of the new QR code is good news for bookmakers, as well as racing fans. It is hoped that the scheme will offer a much-needed boost in footfall for high street betting shops. Customer levels at betting shops are not as high as before the pandemic hit, and data shows that the second wave of COVID-19 is impacting footfall even further.

During the coronavirus lockdown, betting shops were forced to close their doors to their public. Many customers took their betting online, although the huge disruption to sporting schedules meant that wagering opportunities were far and few between. The loss of trade has been difficult for shops to weather, with even large companies feeling the effect. In August William Hill revealed that 119 of its high street betting shops would not reopen following the lockdown.

Horse racing was hit hard too, with many major meetings canceled for the year. The return of racing was a long process, which encountered many problems along the way. In April, the British Horseracing Authority was forced to further postpone racing schedules, as there was still no end in sight for the lockdown. Now racing has definitely returned, although widespread return of spectators is still not possible.

Boost for Bookies

Now that some lockdown restrictions have been eased, bettors have happily return to their local bookies, now equipped with plastic screens, hand sanitizer and face masks. For some customers, the safety measures have proved off-putting. Having gotten to grips with online betting sites during the lockdown, they have chosen to stay at home. For this reason, any way that betting shops can coax back visitors is worthwhile.

Nearly 8000 betting shops up and down the UK and Ireland offer their customers a display edition of the Racing Post. Now customers will be able to scan a QR code at the front of the paper, which will swiftly take them to the landing page of the day’s paper online. Alan Pepperell, Spotlight Sports Group Retail Director, expressed his enthusiasm for the new way of accessing the Racing Post. Pepperell commented:

“Post-lockdown we know bookmakers want to get as many punters in their shops in a controlled and safe environment. We also know most visitors enjoy sitting and reading the paper before making their betting decisions for the day. We decided to trial the QR codes to help customers who may not want to read the paper in the shop but can now do some on their mobile device.”

According to Pepperell, the initiative has already shown signs of success. Places like restaurants and shops have already been using QR codes to show customers menus, information and for track and trace purposes. During the pandemic this has proven to be a straightforward and affordable approach that is easy to action. For the Racing Post, this scheme is just the latest smart move to boost its readership and business for bookies.

Using Interactive Technology

Last month, the Racing Post premiered its new digital display system with the betting chain Toals. The interactive ‘Racing Post Digital Betting Shop Display’ screens were put in place at the company’s shops across Northern Ireland. Toals has become renowned for its forward-thinking digital approach to sports betting, and these new horseracing screens are just the latest example of this attitude.

The Racing Post has been proud to operate betting shop displays for over two decades now. However, these new screens step it up a notch for customers by making things interactive. Now visitors to Toals betting shops can use the new screens to compare horses alongside one another, as well as navigate Racing Post content. These features will streamline the process for customers to make informed betting decisions.

So far, this interactive experience is available to Toals customers in Ballymena, Portadown and Belfast. CEO of Toals, Gary Toal, has spoken about his firm’s approach to advancing technologies. According to Toal:

“At Toals we pride ourselves on our tech-led approach and we’re delighted to join Racing Post on their print-to-digital transition. We’ve always considered ourselves leaders in tech-led betting shops and we’re excited to roll out these new Racing Post screens for horseracing punters.”

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