Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Memoranda


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 stadia.


  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 million spectators.

  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 areas.

  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 schemes

  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 region.

    —  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 offer:

  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 premises licenses).

    —  A combination of gambling with entertainment and alcohol.

    —  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 be constrained.


  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 at tracks.

    —  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

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