The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has revealed that a group of its members was able to raise £250,000 (€276,843/$310,149) for several charities through an initiative based around the Royal Ascot horse racing event.
Major operators including Paddy Power Betfair, bet365, Ladbrokes Coral, William Hill, Sky Bet, Betway, BetVictor and Kindred Group agreed to donate profits from win and each-way bets from the Britannia Stakes on 18 June.
Second favourite Khaloosy won the race, while the favourite Finest Sound came in second, meaning bookmakers actually made a loss on the heritage handicap race.
However, the group agreed to make a joint donation of £250,000, with this being split between Prostate Cancer UK, Marie Curie, The Care Workers Charity and the Berkshire Community Foundation Coronavirus Fund.
“It was a great day for punters, though not such a good one for the bookies,” BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said. “However, it’s brilliant to see that despite bookmakers not making a profit in the race, they will still make a large donation of £250,000 to four fantastic charities, who undoubtedly deserve every penny.”
Ascot Racecourse’s chief operating officer Alastair Warwick added: “This initiative was a tremendous gesture by the betting industry and reflects the ongoing contribution being made throughout the pandemic. The beneficiary charities will be most appreciative of this invaluable funding.”
In April, a group of BGC members also donated £2.6m in profits from the 2020 virtual Grand National to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). The virtual event replaced the showpiece Grand National, which was cancelled due to Covid-19.