Japanese Racing to remain behind closed doors until October

27 August 2020

The Japan Racing Association (JRA) announced that horse racing in the country will continue to take place behind closed doors until at least 4 October.

Racing in Japan has been conducted behind closed doors, with all racecourse venues closed to spectators since 29 February, as part of an ongoing attempt to curb the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Having planned to reopen Nigata Racecourse to spectators from 15 August, the JRA subsequently suspended these plans.

Off-track betting facilities, however, have been reopening since July, allowing customers to place bets and cash out winning tickets, in accordance with restrictions such as limited opening hours, alongside additional safety protocols.

Races are not being televised within the facilities, nor is odds information being provided. Venues are also expected to comply with conditions such as regular employee temperature and health checks, plexiglass barriers between customers and staff, employee use of face masks and high-frequency sanitation of any high-touch areas.

Despite the restrictions, the first half of the JRA’s 2020 season, which ran to 28 June, saw sales rise 1.5% year-on-year to JPY1.48tn (£10.70bn/€11.86bn/$13.94bn), with customers still able to bet online.