A Dying Sport Or A Hidden Opportunity

| December 4, 2018 | Reply

The second month’s update to the review of Braveheart has been published and is well worth a look. Next up for the new reviews will be The Stat Man which has a real sting in the tail towards the end of the month! Remember that you can keep up with all the reviews and updates by visiting the review pages regularly.

As I said previously, we now have a launch date for the hugely improved and expanded Tipster League. From 1st January 2019 the new service will be known as Tipstars and will benefit from its own website and a whole host of new features and benefits.

If you haven’t taken a look at the existing version yet, then head over to this page (although this is now a mere shadow of what we’ve got coming in January!).

You can also follow me on Twitter @betwithchris for regular updates and more news on these exciting developments.

Chris

Has greyhound racing gone to the dogs?

In its heyday in the 1940’s there were 33 greyhound racing tracks in London alone, by 2017 that figure had dropped to just two. With Wimbledon closing its doors, that left Romford as the only London-based greyhound track, and technically that’s actually in Essex!!

Overall, the number of tracks in the UK has dwindled from 72 to the current 22 Greyhound Board of Great Britain venues.

So is this an indication of the demise of greyhound racing? Probably not.

When Wimbledon closed its doors in March 2017 it was purchased by Galliard Homes Ltd and demolished in March 2018 to facilitate the building of homes, a retail centre and a new home for AFC Wimbledon…

The scenario was similar to many that had gone before. It wasn’t so much the demise of greyhound racing but the ever-increasing value of London land that held the key.

Undoubtedly, attendance at greyhound tracks has diminished over the years, with an estimated 50 million people a year attending at the sports height, to a figure nearer to two million today. However, this still makes it the fifth best attended sport in the UK in terms of total visitors.

The wide spread of greyhound meeting times means it appeals to a diverse range of ages and economic backgrounds. From the weekday daytime meeting which attract more retired individuals, to Friday and Saturday evenings which appeal to group bookings such as stag and hen parties, often offering special packages including hospitality.

With up to 12 meetings a day, seven days a week, from morning through afternoon to evening, there is no shortage of action on the dog track. This makes greyhound racing an attractive option for bookmakers as well…

With its quick-fire, short form betting opportunities, greyhound racing is a perfect fill-in for gaps between “bigger” sporting events.

The importance of greyhound racing to the high street bookmakers is underlined by the investment of Ladbrokes Coral in Crayford, Hove, Monmore and Romford greyhound stadiums.

“We are passionate supporters of greyhound racing,” said Ladbrokes Coral chief executive Jim Mullen. “While it may be declining in popularity it is still a much-loved and staple part of our offer both in shops and through our digital channels.”

Recent investment in the infrastructure and facilities greyhound racing offers has provided an enhanced product, not only for spectators at the tracks, but also for owners, trainers and bookmakers. Recent improvements include the rejuvenation of track facilities, with track surfaces renewed, ensuring that dogs can run to their full potential, as well as promoting fairness across the traps.

With greyhound racing accounting for a significant proportion of the over the counter revenue for licenced betting offices (LBOs), the recent deal with SIS to increase coverage and derivatives in-shop is a major coup.

Paul Witten, Product Director at SIS, explained, “Recent investment has helped a resurgence in greyhound racing, and is set to increase its importance in a modern sportsbook once again, with investment in infrastructure and industry competition set to improve its image with a greatly enhanced betting experience.”

Not only will SIS Greyhound Channel cover over 80,000 races in 2018, it also introduced a range of new betting markets including 50/50 style “odds vs evens” and “inside vs outside” aimed at attracting customers from other vertical markets such as casinos, where the clientele is used to the 50/50 bets on red or black in roulette.

According to a report by Deloitte titled “Economic Impact of the British Greyhound Racing Industry”, greyhound racing accounts for £1.3 billion of LBOs turnover, battling football for the second biggest share behind horse racing…

Although this figure dates back to 2014 there is further empirical evidence to suggest that this figure is once again growing and 2018 should be the biggest year for some time, mainly down to the link with SIS and the growing interest among 18-34 year olds.

Betting on greyhound racing has been less impacted by the shift to online betting than other sports due to the lack of live coverage, the lack of in-play markets and the demographic of existing greyhound racing bettors tending towards the older generations. However, with the recent decision regarding Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs), greyhound racing is once again well positioned to be the key in-shop offering for the major retailers.

So maybe, just maybe, greyhound racing in the UK is set for a new boom period.

In my next article I’ll be taking a closer look at betting on greyhounds and hopefully encourage you to take a look at this opportunity, and maybe give it a go if you don’t already.

Until then, best wishes and good luck!

Chris

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