The UK’s leading betting operators have volunteered to contribute £3 million to greyhound racing each year alongside the recently revised horseracing levy.
In a notice published on Gov.uk, Minister for Sport Mims Davies announced that a deal involving the country’s largest operators will help ensure the future of greyhound racing. Prior to the recent meetings, Ladbrokes Coral, Bet365 and Jennings Bet had all made commitments to help the industry.
Discussions chaired by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have since added Betfred, Sky Betting and Gaming, Paddy Power and William Hill to that list. As a result of the talks, the operators will voluntarily contribute a “fair return” of their profits made from bets on greyhound races.
UK Betting Brands Offer Fair Share
As part of the new agreement, almost £3 million will go to help projects across the industry. A portion of the funding will be used to run a new training scheme for veterinary staff.
According to C.A.G.E.D, there were 4,837 injuries to greyhounds in 2017, as well as 257 fatalities. With extra contributions coming from seven UK betting brands, levels of care will be increased, as will the scope of the already active injury recovery scheme.
In addition to treating active greyhounds, the funds will also be spent on improving safety standards across the UK’s 21 licensed tracks and aftercare for retired dogs via the Greyhound Trust.
Commenting on the deal, Davis said that greyhound racing is among the top ten most watched sports in the country and UK betting brands should do everything possible to improve standards.
“I strongly urge all remaining bookmakers that take bets on greyhound racing who have not signed up to this agreement to follow suit and support the sport,” Davis said in the January 10 announcement.
Divide Between Greyhounds and Horses Remains
While those involved in greyhound racing will be grateful for any additional funds, UK betting operators aren’t obligated to make the same payments as they are to horseracing. Following reforms to the horseracing levy in 2017, bookmakers now have to pay 10 percent of their profits from UK punters to the sport.
Despite opposition the levy, The European Commission ruled in favour of the government’s plan, leading to 45.5 percent increase in revenue between 2017 and 2018.
With the levy resulting in annual contributions topping £94 million each year, horseracing has been excluded from the new advertising restrictions.
In December 2018, the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) confirmed that all major operators had agreed to a whistle-to-whistle ban on TV betting ads. However, while broadcasters won’t be able to show sports betting content five minutes before or during live sporting events, horseracing commercials will be allowed.
The same exemption has also been extended to greyhound racing as both industries derive virtually all of their income from the betting industry. Although the new agreement won’t see greyhound racing receive as much as horseracing, it’s a step in the right direction according to industry insiders.