Today, the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) revealed that some of the largest bookmakers in the UK have agreed to make additional payments of up to £3 million in order to guarantee better care for thousands of racing greyhounds.
The voluntary commitment was made by a number of gambling giants, including William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair, Betfred and Sky Betting and Gaming after discussions with the DCMS, which has urged operators to ensure a fair return from their profits to the industry. The agreement also follows similar previous commitments made by bet365, Ladbrokes Coral and JenningsBet.
From registration to retirement, it is clear that the welfare and care of all racing greyhounds must be a fundamental part of the sport's successful future. Find out about new deal to support improvements 🐶https://t.co/DHuQeLHYdB pic.twitter.com/0OE1dvxbir
— DCMS (@DCMS) January 10, 2019
The deal was announced by the Minister for Sport Mims Davies, who revealed that agreement came as a positive step for the entire industry, as it would make sure that a fair share is brought back to the sport from local bookmakers. Ms Davies further explained that the contributions will be used to guarantee better training for veterinary staff, as well as increased funding for the Greyhound Trust, expanded injury recovery scheme and provision of more homes for retired racing dogs.
— DCMS (@DCMS) January 10, 2019
In addition, a certain part of the voluntary contributions will be redirected towards improving the safety of the 21 licensed racetracks across the country, as well as for kennel improvements and improvements of welfare standards.
Voluntary Commitment Comes as Part of GBGG Self-Regulatory Reforms
The above-mentioned commitment is set to be underpinned by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s long-term strategy called the “Greyhound Commitment”, which will ensure both animal welfare and the integrity of the sport.
The DCMS further revealed that under the terms of the voluntary commitment made by some of the largest bookmakers in the UK, operators’ contributions to the industry will amount to 0.6% of their online turnover generated by bets placed on British greyhound racing. Apart from that, the donations from retail betting shop operation will still be made in the future. The agreement is brought into action from January 1st, 2019.
As mentioned above, three other long-term retail contributors to the greyhound racing industry – bet365, Ladbrokes Coral and JenningsBet – made similar online payments agreement from the beginning of 2018.
Currently, the regulation, governance and control of all licensed greyhound racing in England, Wales and Scotland is carried out by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB). The latter receives funding through the British Greyhound Racing Fund as voluntary contributions made by bookmakers. Recently, the GBGB’s spending on welfare has been protected in order to remain firmly at around £3 million on an annual basis.
In 2010, the UK Government rolled out regulations called “Welfare of Racing Greyhounds Regulations 2010” aimed at protecting the racing greyhounds’ welfare in England-based racetracks. These regulations were reviewed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in 2016, with the government department having recommended better transparency in the industry. As a result, the GBGB agreed that a number of self-regulatory reforms were needed and is currently engaged with delivery the promised changes.