Next week – may, or may not – prove a hugely significant week for greyhound racing in Britain.
Monday is the deadline for the remaining bookmakers/betting exchanges to inform the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) whether – or not – they plan to contribute to the British Greyhound Racing Fund.
Headmistress Tracey Crouch has frequently reminded the bettors of their responsibilities and has arranged a naming and shaming Monday morning assembly in front of the whole school.
The prize pupils including Bet365 have delivered throughout the full term. All the major firms were well behaved but many seized an opportunity of getting out of subjects they didn’t like (paying on their offshore betting) by trading from Gibraltar.
That loophole was closed by a change in the law – but since the greyhound contribution was voluntary, the Fund still relied on the bookies to do the honourable thing.
Late last year Ladbrokes/Coral, promised to stop bunking off and agreed to pay-up. Gradually, with plenty of lobbying by GBGB and Lord Lipsey, the other firms have largely fallen into line.
Betfair on the other hand, started off behaving but have since gone rogue. They have effectively been playing truant and spending their (our) dinner money on scrumpy and fags for five years.
My understanding is that Betfair are still standing at the school gates V-signing Her Majesty’s Government, along with at least one other major bookmaker (it’s not who you might think!).
So will the low-life blood sucking parasitic betting exchange play ball on Monday?
Don’t hold your breath.
I would also expect an imminent decision on a new SKY deal.
My understanding is that the money is virtually in place and includes a contribution from GBGB with cash they have found down the back of the sofa plus another very thin wad from the bookies. The issue of the Greyhound Derby has been holding things up.
Having taken some abuse for my lukewarm view of SKY racing – ‘ideally I would like it but not at all costs’ – I will be interested to gauge reaction if the deal finally gets over the line.
Huge sacrifices have had to be made including the track’s £7,000 ‘facilitation fee’ which basically paid the prize money on the undercard. That is massive money – staging a SKY meeting was already a loss leader for every single track.
So, if we do get the SKY slot back, and the broadcasters decide not to hide it behind the red button, owners and trainers can expect a significant decline in prize money.
To me, the deal will be ‘at considerable cost’ and just as owners want to be seen on TV, I can’t get too excited about it.
The most significant benefit?
If it does go ahead, the SKY programme will offer a fantastic opportunity to owners and trainers to vent their spleens to between 8,000 and 30,000 viewers (you thought it was more?) about non-payers to the fund.
The irony of that may only become obvious after Monday when the identity of the other welsher is revealed.
So – who fancies going on TV and telling Britain that every ex-racing greyhound in Britain could be re-homed if only the likes of Betfair and ****** were to honour their moral obligations?
Whatever happens – 2018 has been an abortion. Hopefully a financially sound model can be devised for the future.