Annual figures released by the Gambling Commission at the end of last week, as usual, offer a mixed bag for betting in general, and greyhound racing in particular.

The big picture is that overall, gambling, excluding lotteries, increased by 9.3% on the previous year. Surprisingly, non-remote betting, which would include betting shops, bounced back after seeming to have lost the initiative to ‘remote’ (internet).

Overall ‘remote’ betting was down by 7% across all sectors, excluding cricket. However, the actually loss of ‘yield’ for dogs was only around 2.5%,

Overall the number of betting shops fell once again. They dipped below the 6,000 mark for the first time (5,995). That represents a 22% decline since the Covid lockdown and a lost of a third in a decade (9,100 in 2013). Yet betting shop yield rose by around £150m.

Remote turnover


There is plenty to look at in the ‘over the counter’ graph below.

The overall net rise is 11% though that should be seen in the contest of overall turnover which is still less than 2019-2020 figures.

Overall, the 2022/23 figures show a bigger increase in yield with the dogs doing particularly well. Although turnover on dogs is just short of £801m, that than a quarter of horseracing’s £3.3bn, the ‘yield’ on the dogs is 17.8% compared to 13.4% on the horses.

For a more depressing picture, compare the greyhound yield from 2008/9 compared to now. Allowing for inflation, that £309m would be worth half a billion today.

(Greyhound folk might also reflect on how little of that 2008 profit ever made its way back into the industry – Ed)

One more slightly depressing figure concerns the amount turned over by on-course bookmakers at horse racing, compared to horse racing. Although turnover comparison in the shops is 1:4 in favour of the horses, it is nearly 1:14 on-line and 1:25 on-course.