20% boost in welfare funding for British greyhound racing

20% boost in welfare funding for British greyhound racing

Friday, July 15, 2016
The BGRF spends almost half its budget on greyhound welfare

British greyhound racing has increased the amount it spends on welfare matters by 20% in the past year, according to the latest report from the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF).

The body receives voluntary funding from licensed bookmakers and supports and develops greyhound racing in Britain as licensed by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) and raised £7.2m for the year to March 2016, 47.1% of which was used for welfare matters.

As events in the Australian state of New South Wales shows, where the State Government has announced a ban on the sport because of perceived maltreatment of greyhounds, welfare is an extremely important aspect of greyhound racing. Indeed the sport has also been under pressure in the UK after a series of scandals around the treatment of retired greyhounds.

BGRF Chairman Joe Scanlon explained that the fund is constantly looking at ways to improve welfare matters for the dogs. He said: “Because our income held up better than expected this last year, we found ourselves in the fortunate position at the year-end of being able to establish a Welfare Initiatives Fund of £0.5m for passing to the Greyhound Board for the use of the GBGB Welfare Committee. This will provide the initial funding for kennel improve­ment schemes and other welfare initiatives.”

Other welfare initiatives include providing with Retired Greyhound Trust with a grant of £1.4m. However Scanlon warned that constantly improving standards meant an increasing cost: “The GBGB has a demanding role securing and enhancing the welfare of our sport and the cost of such provision inevitably rises each year with increasing expectations.”

Scanlon said that the BGRF is hoping to increase its funding in the future but recognised the huge pressures faces licensed bookmakers in the country: “That brings me to my hopes and wishes for the Fund going forward. Key to that has to be our ability to increase our income so that we may not only continue to adhere to the highest welfare and integrity standards – prominent in the recent Government review into greyhound racing – but also encourage future investment in the sport…

“I know that the GBGB is working hard to strike a deal beneficial to both bookmaking and to the sport of greyhound racing to take us forward into the next decade and I am cautiously optimistic this will be achieved.”

The sport is still popular with bookmakers. This week SIS signed an exclusive five-year deal with the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) to collect and distribute greyhound racing content to online and retail betting operators. Significantly the deal includes international streaming rights, which will enable suppliers to utilise SIS Stream – SIS’ low latency streaming platform – to distribute Irish greyhound racing to new territories around the globe.

The agreement, which covers more than 1,500 races a year taking place at flagship IGB tracks – Mullingar, Youghal and Tralee – adds to SIS’ greyhound offering which already includes exclusive delivery of over 30,000 BAGS races a year internationally.

Totally Gaming Says: “Welfare these days is not just a social imperative, but a business one as events in Australia have underlined. The BGRF and GBGB are working their hardest to improve matters under self-regulation, but they know that there can be very few slip-ups for the sport at the moment. However it is down to bookmakers to help fund the welfare improvement and the BGRF has identified around 200 companies ranging from one-shop businesses to those with a significant number of betting shops who as of yet do not contribute. A boost in income will see welfare matters receive more investment and safeguard the future of the sport.”

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