Phil Meaney is quoted in Talking Dogs today stating,”the business model for greyhound racing is changing and the IGB is embracing technology and developing new international business.”

 

While the IGB are making changes that will have serious implications for the greyhound industry for years to come, they are not embracing technology to develop their own revenue streams. Instead they are selling off rights to the bookmakers similar to what happened in the UK. And we know that the UK experience resulted in the sport being run by bookmakers for bookmakers to the determent of the industry.

 

So the vital question is how much revenue has the IGB attained for allowing SIS to control the following 7 race nights;

Youghal (Monday & Wednesday evenings), Mullingar (Sunday afternoon), Tralee (Tuesday & Sunday evening), Limerick (Thursday evening) and Curraheen Park (Cork) (Friday evening).

 

Peter Burke TD asked about “the commercial arrangement with the tracks in Youghal, Tralee and Mullingar” at the Public Accounts Committee on the 4th of May 2017. Michael Murnane responded stating that the “deal was entered into on 6 February 2016… It involves 1,500 races, and we anticipate that it will generate €476,000 in revenue for the three tracks annually.” (click here)

 

This means that the IGB attained €317 per race which is a terrible deal for the Irish greyhound industry when compared with the UK tracks who were receiving in excess of £1,000 per race at the time. Quite simply the IGB were out negotiated in 2016 and accepted €465,000 for 1,500 races when they should have got in excess of €1.4 million using the argument that the Irish dogs are worth at least as much as the UK dogs.

 

The 6th of February 2016 deal means that SIS is getting 3 Irish BAGs races for the price of 1 UK BAGs race which could have the add-on adverse affect of incentivising the sale UK greyhound tracks for property development.

 

Currently the 5 race nights at Youghal, Tralee and Mullingar are being subsidised by the IGB (Horse & Greyhound Racing Fund) to the benefit of bookmaker profits.

For example Youghal BAGs prizemoney per race is €465 (€285 €80 €40 €20 €20 €20) while SIS only pays €317 and when you add in the costs of staffing & running the meeting then the benefit to the bookmakers at the tax payers expense is significant. This is political dynamite considering that the IGB have just added Cork & Limerick to the bookmakers benevolent fund.

 

So the question that everybody in the greyhound industry will be asking is how much per race did the IGB get for the Limerick (Thursday evening) and Curraheen Park (Cork) (Friday evening) slots because if they got less than €1,000 per race then the IGB have again devalued the Irish greyhound industry.

 

I have no doubt that when asked the IGB will not want to disclose this figure quoting a non-disclosure agreement for commercial sensitivity purposes similar to the 2016 deal but as Peter Burke TD stated in the PAC; “The days of a semi-State body that is getting significant funding from the State entering into non-disclosure agreements are coming to a close.”

KB