‘Professional Interview Pack’

Interview with Jessie Court (PR and Press requests) from Chester Races. Below are her responses which were received today: (Wednesday 11th December)

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Interview with Alan Hughes (Colleague and long-time horse racing enthusiast) Research conducted on Saturday 7th December during a lunch break. The Questions asked to him are below:

Q) What got you interested in horse racing?

Q) How important is Chester races in the horse racing calendar in your opinion?

Q) Just as recent as 2011, Chester races was showcased as the most popular course in the North West based on average attendance figures. What benefits would something like that have on the city of Chester?

Q) Do you think the spectacle of ‘the races’ are equal to the actual sporting event?

Q) In your opinion, why is betting in horse racing so integral?

Q) Would you say people would enjoy horse racing without the ability to bet on the sport?

Q) Over the past years, there’s been an increase in the amount of betting shops on the high street, 300 new stores were planned for this year alone. In a time of recession and financial uncertainty why is gambling flourishing?

Q) In this age of smartphones, young people are able to bet easier than ever (5,000 people between 18-35 contacted helplines for addiction) Is this kind of betting acceptable?

~Alan’s responses will be formulated into an article, the raw questioning will be sent via email as evidence of the interview taking place.~

ARTICLE BASED ON ALAN’S RESPONSE (With the intention of being used as part of a Voice Over in conjunction with footage of Chester Races)

Chester races is a jewel in the crown of the historically rich North West city, attracting over 186,000 visitors in a season, that not only benefits financially the race course, but the bars, shops, restaurants and public transport.

Some events held over the past year include the MBNA Chester Marathon, Chester Rocks and The Chester Arts Festival. Jessie Court, Chester Races PR & Requests representative, spoke of how important it is for them to offer these events outside the horse racing calendar; ”Chester Racecourse is not just a venue of sport, it’s a venue of leisure too.  It’s really important for the commercial success of the business to utilise the racecourse space outside of race meetings and seasonal fluxes.  These events also help bolster non-raceday business within the on site pub and restaurant.”

Racegoer and long time horse racing enthusiast Alan Hughes, who was first drawn to the sport by the 1967 Grand National when his Nan picked the winner at 100-1 gave his views on what Chester Races means on numerous levels to the city and the sport itself.

Viewing Chester as ‘One of the premiere horse racing courses,’ the glamour of this showcase is visible to all who attend. Alan shed light on the other side which people don’t see; ”I’m sure behind the scenes when they’re mucking out the stables it’s not glamorous…”

Yet, all joking aside, the thousands of spectators going to the races are more than likely to put a bet on the action. The reasons why people bet are as varied as the odds themselves; for competition, for the buzz of picking a winner or even they feel they have a vested interest in the races. Alan elaborated on why betting is so closely linked to horse racing; ”You want to have an interest- and it’s competition. Whatever sport; one horse is going to be better than all the others on a particular day, so it’s just a question of picking that horse on that day- And also you’re looking to make money out of it.”

Touching on the increase of betting shops on Chester’s high street, there is a danger that this may lead to an increase in gambling problems, not just across the city, but nationwide. With 5,000 people between the age of 18-35 contacting helplines for gambling addiction in the past year, and 451,000 people overall admitting they had a betting problem in Britain when surveyed in the Gambling Commission in 2010, is there a link between the increase of shops and these statistics?

In a time of recession and financial uncertainty, many would believe the opposite- that the betting industry would be failing, but as those who do the National Lottery, it is that hope of winning big that drives people to continue each week. The same can be said for betting on sport, the only difference which Alan touches on is that the actual event itself is accentuated and increases the excitement with the chance of winning.

Prominently, in this age of smartphones, betting is now easier than ever- especially now with options that include ‘bet-in-play’ which allows those watching football games at home, for example, to bet on specific markets ranging from first goal scorer to the first yellow card. Using a clever analogy with whether it is the responsibility of a barman to refuse alcohol to those who have had one to many, should gambling companies take the blame for gamblers who have consciously decided to bet?

Parallels can be seen across many aspects of this digital age- including those who shouldn’t legally be using applications in the first place, Alan’s granddaughter uses Facebook at the age of 11 even though the minimum age is 13 and many teenagers can find ways to bet without ever stepping into one of the numerous betting shops in Chester.

As Chester prepares for the May festivals next year, The Races will forever be as iconic as the Roman Walls which surround the city. The glitz of what the races bring to Chester are a highlight to Cestrians who aren’t even followers of the sport. Just as much as Chester will be associated with The Races, so will horse racing be linked to gambling. It is gambling companies duty and obligation however to regulate online gambling further to avoid more susceptible people developing addictions.

Interview with a member of staff from a bookmakers. unfortunately, no one was available for comment- however, the questioning I would have used are outlined underneath.

Q) How long have you worked at ———————-?

-Do you enjoy it?

Q) What kind of customers do you normally get throughout the week?

-Are their particular sports which people bet on more than others?

Q) In your opinion, why is betting in horse racing (or any sport) so commonplace?

Q) Would you say people would enjoy horse racing regardless of being able to bet on the sport?

Q) Over the past few years there’s been an increase in the amount of betting shops on the high street, 300 new stores were planned for this year alone. In a time of recession and hardships, why is gambling flourishing?

Q) In this age of smartphones, and bet-in-play, young people are able to bet easier than ever. What kinds of methods do bookmakers use to attract a younger audience?

^Justify to Interviewee- way they reach that audience; games, attractive women etc.)

Q) In the last national survey of The Gambling Commission in 2010, 451,000 people admitted they had a betting problem in Britain. Are bookmakers doing enough to protect those most at risk of potentially developing an addiction?

-Knowing that figure from before, does that in some way darken spectacles like our own Chester Races?

^Justify to Interviewee: That behind the glitz and glamour- there are people battling addictions because of sport)


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