UK greyhound racing receives £3m boost from bookmakers
The UK greyhound racing industry is to receive up to £3m in additional funding from betting operators through a new voluntary agreement that will see the British Greyhound Racing Fund’s income grow to £10m in 2019.
The agreement will see Betfred, William Hill, The Stars Group-owned Sky Betting and Gaming and Paddy Power Betfair provide funding to improve greyhound welfare standards across the industry.
This includes dedicated training programmes for veterinary staff, the expansion of an injury recovery scheme for dogs, and increased funding for the Greyhound Trust, the charity responsible for homing retired greyhounds.
The extra funding will also be used to improve the safety of the UK’s 21 licensed racetracks, improving kennels and providing air conditioning for trainers’ vehicles.
Negotiations between industry bodies and the bookmakers were chaired by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and follows GVC Holdings’ Ladbrokes Coral, Bet365 and Ireland’s JenningsBet making voluntary commitments to increase industry funding. This underpins the Greyhound Commitment, a long-term strategic plan developed by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain designed to improve animal welfare and protect the sport’s integrity.
“I am delighted to have reached an agreement with leading operators to ensure the welfare of our greyhounds is protected and improved through this fund,” Minister for Sport and Civil Society Mims Davies said of the deal.
“As the sixth most watched sport in Britain, it is clear that the welfare and care of all racing greyhounds, from registration to retirement, must be a fundamental part of its successful future,” she explained.
Davies also urged all bookmakers yet to sign up to the voluntary funding agreement and Greyhound Commitment to do so to prove their support for the sport.
Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) managing director Mark Bird said he was extremely grateful to the bookmakers for agreeing to provide additional funding to the sector.
“The GBGB has outlined clear ambitions, within our Greyhound Commitment as to where this new income will be spent, with the majority supporting greyhound welfare standards and initiatives, both throughout their racing careers but also as part their homing process following retirement from the sport,” he said.
British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF) chair Joe Scanlon said with income rising to around £10m in 2019 as a result of the deal, the body was close to meeting its funding targets for the year.
“This agreement would not have been possible without the support of the Minister and her team at DCMS, Lord Lipsey who has worked tirelessly to improve the welfare of greyhounds over many years and of course the major bookmakers for their continued support of the Fund,” Scanlon said.