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Virtual Grand National raises £2.6m for NHS

| By Daniel O'Boyle
British gambling operators will donate £2.6m in profits from the 2020 virtual Grand National to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

British gambling operators will donate £2.6m in profits from the 2020 virtual Grand National to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

Bookmakers including Bet365, Ladbrokes Coral, Paddy Power Betfair, Sky Bet, William Hill, Betfred, Betway and the UK Tote Group – as well as technology provider Inspired Entertainment – agreed to donate all profits from the event after winnings and duties are paid, to NHS charities.

The funds will be sent to NHS Charities Together, the umbrella organisation that represents more than 140 approved NHS charities that collectively contribute £1m (€1.1m/$1.2m) a day to support the NHS.

“We are overwhelmed with the public support for the virtual Grand National and the support shown for NHS Charities Together,” Michael Dugher, chief executive of industry standards body the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) said.

“When the nation was in much need of some light relief, millions joined in the fun in honour of one of Britain’s greatest sporting events and helped raise a fantastic amount for our brave heroes in the NHS.

“I am proud that so many BGC members, up and down the country, are supporting in so many different ways the national effort to combat COVID-19, including here by contributing all of their race profits to NHS Charities Together. NHS Charities Together thanked the BGC yesterday but I’d like to thank them for the amazing work that they do in support of the NHS all year round.”

The race, which was won by 18/1 shot Potters Corner, was watched by 4.8m viewers at its peak, representing 30% of the overall television audience.

“The country is going through what is little short of a nightmare at the moment, so it was heartwarming to see pictures on social media of so many people enjoying themselves watching the excellent ITV Racing and Carm Productions programme which had such impressive viewing figures,” Dugher said.

”I’m sorry we couldn’t have the real Grand National to find out if Potters Corner would have won or whether it would have been an historic three in a row for Tiger Roll, but at this time of need the nation used the day to come together and back our NHS.”

Dugher also praised horse racing governing body the Jockey Club’s decision to donate 10,000 tickets to the National Health Service (NHS) and social care sector for the first day of the 2021 Grand National Festival.

“It’s also fantastic that the Jockey Club will be donating 10,000 tickets to the NHS and social care sector in Merseyside for the first day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree”.

Profits from bets placed in Ireland will be donated to Irish charities including the Irish Red Cross, though the amount raised from these bets has not been announced.

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