Memorandum submitted by the British Greyhound
Racing Board (BGRB)
This paper is submitted to the House of Commons
Culture, Media and Sport Committee by the British Greyhound Racing
Board (BGRB), in connection with the Committee's consideration
of the proposed changes to gaming legislation: "A Safe
Bet for Success".
This paper draws to the Committee's attention
relevant points on:
The potential benefits to local economies
of casino and other gaming developments at greyhound stadia sites.
The potential advantages to minimising
any detrimental social impacts from increased gambling opportunities,
by concentrating such additional gambling activities at greyhound
THE UK GREYHOUND
Approximately 4.1 million people go greyhound
racing each year, making it the UK's seventh most popular live
spectator sport. Horse racing for comparison attracts around five
The UK has 31 greyhound racecourses licensed
by the National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC), as well as a further
24 not NGRC licensed. However no new greyhound stadia have been
built on new sites in the last 40 years, because of the hitherto
marginal viability of such developments, which require large land
The Greyhound racing industry employs some 20,000
people as greyhound owners and trainers, racecourse operators
and racing stewards.
Approximately £1.6 billion was bet on greyhound
racing in 2000, nearly four per cent of the total UK gambling
market. 15 per cent of this was bet on-track and 85 per cent off-track,
the latter contributing almost £100 million in betting duty
to the Exchequer in the last full year before the introduction
of Gross Profits Tax.
Greyhound stadia are typically sited in secondary
or tertiary urban locations. They require sites of around 8-12
acres and can readily consider brownfield or other poor quality
sites, which are often unsuitable for many other uses. For this
reason, the development of greyhound stadia can be an attractive
opportunity for public authorities seeking urban regeneration.
A greyhound stadium acts as a destination venue
in its own right, therefore not requiring a site in close proximity
to other leisure or commercial uses, again an attractive opportunity
for authorities seeking to bring difficult sites into active use.
Greyhound stadia employ 10,000 people in their
operation around the country and a significant number of other
local jobs amongst greyhound owners, trainers and race stewards.
At many existing greyhound stadia sites, a range
of other activities are offered, which benefit local communities
such as hotels, cue sports clubs, health and fitness clubs, speedway,
stock-car racing, local markets, nightclubs and park-and-ride
These points outline some of the local social
and economic benefits of greyhound racing. The proposals in "A
Safe Bet for Success", if enacted, would allow opportunities
for greyhound stadia to be more viable and would therefore enhance
the potential for new stadia to be developed around the UK, along
with these benefits that they bring.
Greyhound stadia are long-established and licensed
venues for gambling activity, predominantly through betting on
the greyhound racing there. In other countries, such as the USA,
recognition of greyhound race courses as venues where gambling
takes place has been a key factor in the provision of further
types of gaming licences for these venues eg licenses for slot
machines. This has the dual effect of:
Restraining the number and types
of venues or locations where gambling takes place in a particular
Ensuring that some of the proceeds
from the additional gambling activities are injected into the
grass-roots of the greyhound racing industry (the owners and trainers),
to sustain their economic well-being.
If "A Safe Bet For Success" was
enacted, this could result in the development of a range of gambling
activities, including casinos and machine gaming, on greyhound
stadium sites, bringing similar advantages. Greyhound stadia sites
Sufficient land and buildings to accommodate
such additional activity, reducing the need to proliferate locations
at which gambling takes place in any region:
A regime accustomed to working under
appropriate licensing and regulation (including local authority
A combination of gambling with entertainment
An ability to segregate areas or
buildings according to the specific nature of their license as
outlined in "A Safe Bet for Success".
By concentrating additional gambling activity
at greyhound stadia sites, any potential detrimental effects from
the availability of increased gambling opportunities could thus
The BGRB welcomes the opportunities outlined
in "A Safe Bet for Success" and believes that the opportunities
this brings, if enacted, will:
Enhance local employment through
the development of more tracks and additional gambling activities
Increase viability of greyhound racing,
allowing new venues to develop.
Increase the opportunities for greyhound
stadia, with other gambling activities to catalyse urban regeneration.
Constrain any detrimental social
impacts through the concentration of additional gambling, such
as casinos and machines, at existing licensed gambling premises.
3 May 2002