While it’s true to say that greyhound racing in the UK has undergone some fairly significant changes and suffered its fair share of setbacks in recent years, rumours of the sport’s demise are, however, greatly exaggerated.
Greyhound racing in the UK does nevertheless face some major challenges: the growing and vocal influence of animal rights activists who vehemently oppose the sport; the closure of tracks, including Wimbledon Stadium in March of this year and Hall Green in Birmingham; dwindling attendances; and reduced revenue from on-course betting and betting shops.
And it’s not just here in the UK that the dogs are under threat; in the Australian state of NSW, the government banned greyhound racing in 2016 (although it later backtracked on the decision once it realised the economic consequences), while a proposed ban in the ACT starting in 2018 will still go ahead. There is even speculation that greyhound racing could come to an end in Macau.
And yet here in the UK, the dogs survive and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As well as being the sixth most-watched sport in Britain, interest from punters is still strong, as evidenced by the fact that betting on greyhound racing remains a staple of most online sports books (although it is the case that some embrace the sport more enthusiastically than others).
And so while fewer people are choosing a night out at the dogs as their entertainment of choice, interest has not waned completely, and the majority of online betting sites, including a raft of newer sports books, feature greyhound racing markets prominently, offering punters a range of features, such as live race streaming, cash out and other specials.
For instance, BetBright is one of a new generation of online and mobile betting sites that gives greyhound racing plenty of coverage, with extensive markets on all UK meetings, including Best Odds Guaranteed, cash out and acca specials, combined with live streaming of races from around the country (all you have to do to be able to watch a race live is have a bet of at least £1). The fact that you can bet via your desktop or on the BetBright mobile app for iOS and Android devices also increases the exposure dog racing gets, as the number of punters using hand-held devices as their primary source of accessing the internet is growing all the time in the UK.
BetFred too offers live streaming of UK greyhound races from all BAGS and RPGTV tracks, as well as Tote Jackpot and Tote Placepot betting on every RPGTV meeting. Betfred also offers Best Odds Guaranteed on all meetings shown live on Sky Sports, and you can download a free BetFred mobile betting app that gives you access to all markets, specials and live races on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet wherever you are and at any time.
Most other new bookmakers and the more established brands likewise have plenty to offer the greyhound punter: William Hill gives you Best Odds Guaranteed on all UK meetings, on both single and multiple (parlay) bets; you also get BOG on selected dog races at Betfair and Leo Vegas on singles and multiples (win and each way); while at 888, the Acca Saver means that if you have a 6-fold+ greyhound accumulator (which can be combined with other sports) and one leg lets you down, you get your stake up to £25 back as bonus bets.
What this demonstrates is that while the attendance on course may not be what it once was, UK punters still want to bet on the dogs. Online sportsbooks recognise this, and the fact most offer live streaming of dog races along with specials like cash out and acca insurance, shows that there is still interest and excitement around greyhound racing in the UK. In short the sport doesn’t look like going anywhere any time soon.