In less than a month’s time, greyhound racing in Britain celebrates its 100th birthday.

I’d take short odds that it will still be operating – in some form or another – on 24 July 2026.

But unless there is significant change, I wouldn’t be betting big odds on a 105th birthday party.

If trainers ask me about the future, I suggest they prepare some, or all of their ranges, to be local authority compliant for holiday boarding.


Greyhound folk might compile a lengthy list of the reasons why the sport will ultimately fail:

  • a Government welfare ban, the re-homing crisis, a lack of new owners and trainers leading to reduced registrations, breeding figures going off a cliff, bad racing, rip-off betting, negligible marketing. Blah blah blah.

We have an English Derby – the pinnacle from which so much the British and Irish greyhound industries depend – that is unsustainable.

One estimate suggests that Kevin Boothby will lose around £80K by staging it this year. With Entain refusing to bet on it – opinions are divided on who is to blame for that – indeed refusing to bet on any SIS racing – the industry’s welfare budget is in major jeopardy.


This article could run into dozens of paragraphs just picking a greyhound racing’s scabs.

What is the point?

However – having been involved in dog racing for more than half of its 98 years, including 40 years writing about it, I think my insight should be as good as any when it comes to finding a solution.

It isn’t easily delivered, and like many things in life, it is reliant on a certain set of factors coming into alignment.

I believe that this is that time.


In my view, all the gripes listed above can only be overcome – with varying timeframes – by a complete overhaul of the industry.

Why? Because the current model is not fit for purpose, starting with GBGB.

It is, despite certain reservations, an excellent regulator. It has nailed welfare to a level that horseracing should be looking at with envy.

MD Mark Bird has engaged with civil servants and MPs in a way that none of his predecessors have ever attempted.

The recent decision by the Scottish Government that they found no need for a ban on greyhound racing has Bird’s fingerprints all over it.


Where GBGB falls short is in the promotion of the sport. But it is not its fault.

Unlike the other major racing nations, our sport is not financed through state or national government via betting revenue.

From that first meeting at Belle Vue 98 years ago, this has been an industry that was commercially driven by the track owners.

The money needed to develop and re-invest in greyhound racing has always been siphoned away by shareholders who, rightly predicted shrinking declines and returns.


This article could run into a million words talking about bad decision making, poor leadership, taxation, legislation, corruption, etc etc.

There could be another million justifying why there is significant evidence to suggest that greyhound racing is potentially the best product in the betting portfolio.

It is fast, easy to follow for a newcomer, can be easily and efficiently managed, and has no doubt helped cover the loss of the FOBT machines.

All of this despite being the worst presented, least attractive product that anyone should ever want to bet on.

The way the retail market presents greyhound racing is shocking, though that bears no comparison to its derisory attempts at a digital product.

With the exception of ‘365’ who are far from perfect, the remainder of the big firms should be embarrassed.


All of the above should present an opportunity for ‘somebody’ with vision to do it right.

To recognise the simplicity of the product and its low cost to capture a greater section of the betting market.

The problem has been that obstacles have always stood in the way of the potential beneficiaries.

I’ll give just one simple example.

Many years ago, William Hill’s innovative operator David Hood saw the potential of regular live racing on TV.

Hills launched the predecessor of ‘RPGTV’ (Greyhound TV or whatever). The problem was, Hills were footing the bill and their commercial competitors were getting a ‘free feed’.


I firmly believe that for this industry to thrive, it needs to pool its resources with opposing factions sharing a common purpose.

And NO – I have not come over all ‘Disney’. They don’t have to like each other but they should be able to cooperate to mutual advantage. A simple exercise in cost/benefit analysis.

It happens in all varieties of businesses, including high tech companies and even bookmaking, in certain circumstances. A better example might be football’s Premier League.


As regular readers will know, I welcomed the media rights battle between ARC and SIS which later became PGR v SIS.

My rationale was that I had seen greyhound tracks, owners and trainers shafted by BAGS.

‘Come begging on your knees to us because we are now the only game in town’

And they did.

But then tracks did it to trainers, when there was a surplus of them.

That was then and this is now.

The recent agreement to normalise the two betting services in terms of race timing was a start.

But it needs to go further. Much further.

For another million words worth of reasons, I believe that a single service is now in the industry’s best overall interest.

I no longer fear the exploitation of trainers because their numbers have dropped so dramatically that the supply v demand equation now works sharply in their favour.


I don’t see either PGR or SIS wiping the other out, and it certainly isn’t anything that I would want to see.

As I have stated previously while PGR are now undoubtedly the strongest player, there are significant players in the betting industry who will never want to see a stranglehold of greyhound product by either of PGR’s constituent parts, ARC or Entain.

However, imagine a scenario where an honest broker stepped in to managed an organisation on behalf of both organisations.

Imagine a new weekly greyhound programme to which both companies supplied product and shared cost based on their turnover?

My understanding is that betting on greyhound racing has plummeted since RPGTV disappeared. But what if the new programme included the best of the SIS and PGR racing?

Decent open race competitions throughout the week, not some of the dross we ended up with?

Imagine the same company beginning a proper marketing campaign for the entire greyhound industry.

A properly funded welfare plan? (Something we have never had despite David Lipsey’s making such huge progress when Chairman of BGRB.)

Again both organisations would contribute according to a fair formula set up by a third party which could effectively also replace the BGRF.

Not only do I be believe that it is feasible, I am also convinced that the necessary people with the vision to make it happen are now in situ.