POPULAR race days could be lost if Musselburgh Racecourse cannot find the savings to make up for a loss of £367,000 from broadcasting rights this year.

The potential closure of up to 2,000 betting shops across the UK in the coming year could see Musselburgh Racecourse lose a huge amount of income.

And while it has already cut prize money by nearly £190,000, it says it will need a further £150,000 in savings “just to break even”.

A report on the impact of losing income from live coverage of races being shown in the shops has warned that drastic action may be needed which could see the racecourse potentially lose its New Year’s Day and Easter Saturday fixtures.

The report, which was initially shown to Musselburgh Racing Associated Committee (MRAC), which governs the course, in private at the December meeting, has now been published after a Freedom of Information request.

It said: “If 2,000 LBOs (licensed betting offices) close and we lose £367,000 in income, we need to find a further £150,000 savings (approx) just to break even.

“It is difficult to see how we can make significant savings on the track and building expenditure, so this will require some or all of the following actions: downgrading of the fixture lists, moving fixtures from weekend slots to midweek slots; downgrading the race programme; the loss of New Year’s Day and Easter Saturday.”

A meeting is expected to be held with small racecourses by Racecourse Media Group (RMG), which oversees the media rights for broadcasting live races and allocates a share to each course later this year.

Last year, RMG generated an estimated £110million for 37 British courses.

However, licensed betting shops are closing across the UK, with a huge number expected to shut their doors this year.

The report to Musselburgh Racecourse Associated Committee warns that the impact will be huge and makes clear the course operators’ view that the RMG needs to review how it distributes the income from live races.

It said: “It is equal to nearly 20 per cent of Musselburgh’s annual contribution to prize money, which will have a massive impact on our business.”

MRAC is an associated committee of East Lothian Council and is made up of four elected councillors and two members of Lothians Racing Syndicate.

It is currently looking for a third-party operator to take over the running of the racecourse.