The overall message of the Annual Report from the British Greyhound Racing Fund for 2009/10 was to document the difficult times ahead for both bookmakers and the sport as a whole due to tougher trading conditions.
The report has changed to a 15 month period to allow for better planning for the future as most funds arrive from bookmakers during December and January. April 1st is the date the the Fund now starts from and income until March 2010 was £9.9m. The outlook for the future is less rosy with an estimated budget of only £9.1m for the following year but a more realistic figure is reportedly £8.5m, which would be a reduction of 15% on the previous year.
The reduction is down to turnover in betting shops struggling because of a number of factors. Gaming machines and virtual racing are proving more and more popular with shop customers and there is also the split in TV coverage with Turf TV and SIS competing for air time. There are rumours that BAGS racing will be relaunched shortly with new exotic tote pools that will hopefully increase betting turnover on the dogs.
Unofficially, bookmakers are reporting the figure for 2010/11 could be as low as £7.9m, some way below the forecast of £9.1m from Charles Lenox-Conyngham.