UK’s Greyhound Racing Could Get New Legs Through Entain Joint Venture
Greyhound racing may be running out of stamina in many parts of the world, but Entain wants it to thrive. It recently launched a new racing initiative in the UK, to which it appointed Lord David Lipsey as its chairman.
Greyhound racing is receiving a lot of backlash around the world. Initiatives are in place in the US and other countries to ban the activity for the welfare of the canines. Scotland recently joined the list of jurisdictions that are trying to stop the races.
Gaming company Entain wants to go in the opposite direction. It announced this past December a joint venture with the Arena Racing Company (ARC) in the UK to enhance greyhound racing. Spearheading the initiative will be Lord David Lipsey, according to an update, who previously served as the chair of the former British Greyhound Racing Board (BGRB).
Rebirth of Greyhound Racing
Entain admits that one of the reasons for the creation of the new Premier Greyhound Racing (PGR) organization is to increase revenue streams for operators. However, it also sees this as an opportunity to address and overcome some of the objections, such as the welfare of the animals.
PGR will have the best interests of the dogs in mind. At the same time, it hopes to revitalize an industry that has been in a state of decline for more than a decade.
The racing organization plans on holding its first races in January 2024. It already began holding pilot races late last year, including the £20,000 (US$24,976) Premier Greyhound Racing Golden Jacket at Crayford this past February.
It is planning on building up its list to around eight to 10 races for now. PGR will then coordinate with 14 of the 20 official tracks in the UK in order to schedule and host the competitions once the operations are in full swing.
Entain and ARC will initially put up £2.5 million (US$3.12 million) in prize money. They have also agreed to make donations for greyhound welfare research projects
Lipsey Ready for the Challenge
Lipsey, who will serve as the chair of the new entity, is confident that PGR will reach its goals. He points out that greyhound racing is not only a tradition in the UK, but it is the sixth-largest spectator sport in the country.
Premier Greyhound Racing believes that it has a huge potential both as a sport and a betting market, offering stakeholders a sustainable and commercially valuable product in the long term,” stated Premier Greyhound Racing chairman Lord David Lipsey.
Lipsey describes himself as a “supporter of greyhound racing” and an enthusiast with over a half-century in the business. He has owned several racers, and was previously a trustee of the Retired Greyhound Trust before it rebranded itself to the Greyhound Trust.
Among Lipsey’s achievements is a deal from five years ago that led to a new arrangement between Greyhound Racing and sports betting operators. As a result of his negotiations, the sport’s revenue increased by £2 million (US$2.5 million).
Reinvigorating the industry apparently won’t be an easy task. In the 1940s, the UK had over 200 race tracks. By 2017, the number was just 25. The number is still dropping, too – there are now 23, according to Goodwin Racing. The split: 19 are in England, two are in Scotland, and Wales and Northern Ireland have one each.
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