Data analysis by Worldpay suggests that online gambling is set for a big win this Cheltenham Festival, as digitally savvy punters gear up to bet live during one of the UK’s biggest annual horse racing events.

Worldpay data predicts that online bookies will rake in the punters over the four-day event, as this time last year online operators saw a 49% increase in bets placed during the festival compared to the previous week.

The increased ease of live betting via mobile devices is continuing to attract punters to place bets online. Worldpay data from last year’s event showed a spike in bets placed between 1:30pm and 3:30pm during the final four days of the festival, in line with the event’s key races. The Gold Cup attracted the highest number of bets placed, with a 22% peak in activity in the 30 minutes prior to the marquee race.

Despite the rise in online betting, it’s unlikely that in-store bookies will feel the pinch. Worldpay data from 2018 found that the bigger bets are still being made in-store, with gamblers wagering an average of £91 at high street bookies compared to £40 online.

Steffan Jones, Vice President for Gaming at Worldpay, said: “Horse racing is one of the most popular betting activities in the UK, and with over nine million people betting online in 2017, this figure is only set to rise. For digitally savvy punters mobile devices enable them to place bets anytime, anywhere; so it’s important for operators to optimise every part of the journey to make it as enjoyable as possible.

“It’s not just about ensuring that adding funds is frictionless, in this age of online expediency fast payouts are equally important. Trustworthy operators who offer this seamless end-to-end experience will see the biggest gains.”

“The best user-experience is imperative for online betting, especially during times of increased traffic. In the same way physical stores tend to hire more staff to support during busier times, online operators will need to make sure their platforms are well equipped to support spikes in traffic during the key races, and do so without compromising payment experience and security.”