Anyone that attended the Forum on 30th of January will have heard the profound statement from IGB hierarchy that “The Australian system is an extremely broad gambling model, they are not interested in attracting people to attend.  It won’t work here.”

The IGOBF have consistently advocated the GRV model as the only way the Irish greyhound industry can survive so we are surprised that this statement has not generated more reaction.

Does the IGB believe there is another revenue source that does not involve gambling?

Mr Dollard needs to understand that greyhound racing has always been about betting, not just in Australia but in Ireland too. Without betting there is no industry. It is also a bit rich for Mr Dollard to dismissively state that the Aussies are not interested in getting people to attend the tracks.

Mr Dollard should study his own performance since he was appointed in 2017. Shelbourne Park was closed due to strike for 22 weeks in 2017 but attendance for 2018, Mr Dollard’s first full year in charge, was still down compared to 2017, and this is the man that claims that increasing attendance is his “top priority”.

 

IGB track attendance, 12 consecutive years of decline and Mr Dollard says there is reason to be optimistic. Pity he didn’t give some of the reasons.

GRV Snapshot

The Australian model can work here but will require significant changes.

  • The standard of regulation in the Irish industry is not acceptable to punters. The current Head of Regulation is not up to the job. He needs to be replaced.
  • The customer is always right. The racing product has to be what the customer wants which will often be at odds with what breeders, trainers, staff etc may prefer to supply. This will mean 8 dog races, less sprints, inside lure and wider radius on the bends to reduce incidents etc etc.
  • People with disposable income and betting interests have better things to do on a Saturday night than go greyhound racing. Premium racing should be run on nights with less competing events.
  • We were told by consecutive CEO’s for many years that the investment in stadia would bring crowds and safeguard the industry. 12 consecutive years of declining attendance is proof that IGB have pursued a flawed plan. The continued investment in stadia is throwing good money after bad and must be stopped.
  • Fortunately, we are not tied to any long term commitments with supply of our pictures. IGB needs to seriously invest in producing its own proper digital betting platform.
  • The CEO appears ethically conflicted with the dilemma of an industry based on gambling. If Mr Dollard has any issue with gambling, then he should consider his position.

 

So when Mr Dollard says “It won’t work here” he may actually be referring to his own limitations. The Aussie model can work here but all the indicators since Mr Dollard was appointed suggest that he may not be the man for the job.