I have been asked to create a template that readers might use as the basis of a letter to their MPs in a push to force Betfair, and other welshers, to make fair contribution to the BGRF. If you are not sure who your MP is, check out this link
I am writing to seek your support on an issue that is causing me deep concern.
You may not be aware that some sections of the betting industry are failing to meet their obligations to greyhound racing which is leading to a shortfall in its welfare provision.
This situation has come about over time. It is as the result of many UK betting providers taking the opportunity to circumvent UK taxation by internet trading from abroad, primarily Gibraltar, from the late 1990s.
Although some of the companies continued to make contributions from their greyhound betting turnover to the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF), most took the opportunity to avoid their responsibility.
In the meantime, the Government introduced new legislation for animal protection, through the Animal Welfare Act 2006, including specific provision for racing greyhounds. This was done as contributions to the BGRF fell by roughly 50% to under £7m. It should be remember, that unlike horse racing, greyhound racing was never afforded a levy.
Although the Secretary of State has repeatedly asked the betting industry to ‘do the right thing’ by greyhound racing, and most have, the company making the most profit from greyhound racing – the betting exchange Betfair – continues to defy the Government.
Its contribution would be worth an estimated £1m per year to the greyhound industry, and it has already avoided an approximate payment of £5m by failing to honour its moral obligations.
The Greyhound Board of Great Britain has pledged that should this cash become available, it would target every penny at welfare, which would almost certainly mean more resources for re-homing ex-racers, injuries and a general improvement of racing greyhounds.
I am therefore asking if are prepared to contact the Minister Of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to press Betfair, and the other non-payers, into a pledge to honour their commitments.
Should they fail to do so – then I ask that consideration be given to a statutory reinforcement, given that EU rules that have prevented the creation of a greyhound levy, will cease to be relevant post Brexit.