It is interesting to see so many die hard greyhound owners suggesting that IGB should implement a racing model based on the Australian industry. The IGOBF have consistently argued that this model was the only option for Irish greyhound racing if it was going to survive. Some of the loudest critics of IGOBF have even now changed their tune. The IGOBF outlined the argument for the Australian system at a meeting in Portlaoise in Jan 2013. The following is an extract from the publication that was presented on the day.

Portlaoise 27 Jan 2013

Aussie Model is better looking than the Irish!

It is hard for us to compare like with like in Ireland in order to evaluate how the Irish greyhound industry is performing.

Our nearest benchmark is available in the UK where the industry is in serious trouble. However the model in Britain is far different from the one in operation in the 32 counties of Ireland.  The way the sport is structured, the system of contracted trainers and bookmaker/promoter control is alien to the way we do things here.

There is however a very good yardstick for us to use in a quick benchmarking exercise.  The state of Victoria is the smallest mainland state in Australia. With a population very similar to our own, and with a strong greyhound industry and history, it is possible to make comparisons.

 

In Victoria, Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) is the body responsible for promoting and controlling the sport, much like our own Irish Greyhound Board (IGB).  The GRV is remarkably similar to the IGB in terms of its establishment and in its board’s functions and powers.  Established under the Racing Act 1958, a read through its Annual Report 2012 and the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 make for very interesting and familiar reading.  Links to these two documents are found at http://www.grv.org.au

 

Victoria Ireland
Area 91,749 sq mi Area 32,595.1 sq mi
Population 5.6million Population 6.4million (4.6 + 1.8)

 

 

 

GRV IGB
Average of 17 race meetings per week Average of 40 race meetings per week
Total Prize Money 2012 = €28.5m ($36m)

Increase from 2007 = 57%

($22.9m to $36m)

Total Prize Money 2012 = €5m

Decrease from 2007 = 59%

(€5m from €12.2m)

Some may say, quite rightly, that Australia is a far more prosperous place than Ireland to live right now, and we know how hard it is for businesses to operate in the current financial climate.  But let’s look at how the IGB and GRV are competing within their own marketplaces, against key competitors.

Irish Greyhound Racing : The Poor Relation? 

Is the IGB allowing greyhound racing to play second fiddle to horse racing.  How is it competing with Horse Racing Ireland?

 

  • Total IGB prizemoney has dropped by 59% since 2007 compared to a fall of just 5% for Horse Racing Ireland
  • Tote turnover in 2007 was €48m at IGB tracks compared with €54m at HRI courses. Both industries have suffered in the downturn but while IGB Tote turnover continues to fall, HRI Tote is on the up, rising €6m in 2011
  • IGB Tote turnover in 2011 was €24m – half of what it was in 2007. HRI Tote turnover was €45m in 2011 – down 17% from 2007.

 

GRV : The Model Student 

GRV is continuously increasing its market share against main competitors Harness Racing Victoria and Racing Victoria (thoroughbred racing) in off-course betting.

  • In 2007 GRV had a 5% market share. In 2012 this stood at 20.6%. The other 2 codes saw their share fall
  • A staggering $694m was wagered off course on GRV races in 2012. That’s €548m
  • Below is an article from November last highlighting the successful and mutually beneficial relationship between GRV and its betting partner Tabcorp.

 

RECORD BREAKING TAB MELBOURNE CUP
Friday 23 November, 2012
Thursday night’s TAB Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park was one of the biggest meetings in Australian greyhound racing history with a Victorian record of $1.375 million in wagering turnover.

The figure of $1.375 million in Victorian turnover represents an increase on the 2011 Melbourne Cup of 28.8 per cent with a record Quaddie pool of $552,000 on SuperTAB representing a 61.8 per cent increase on last year.

Chief Executive Officer at Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV), Adam Wallish, believes the result is indicative of the current growth in Victorian greyhound racing.

“The record results from last night’s meeting at Sandown Park show the public’s interest in greyhound racing and their willingness to back the fastest growing racing code in Australia.

“The relationship between Tabcorp and GRV under the new Joint Venture Agreement is important and we are pleased that this relationship has delivered such a terrific result for the Melbourne Cup.

“Greg Miller and his team at Sandown Park did a tremendous job with the promotion and execution of the event with the brilliant wagering results a testament to their hard work,” Mr Wallish said.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Tabcorp, David Attenborough, commented that the organisation was very pleased with the results.

“Tabcorp was delighted to be associated with the TAB Melbourne Cup meeting and support it with a range of activities, including the record $500,000 Quaddie pool guarantee.

“The wagering turnover performance reflected very strong interest from customers. The Sandown Greyhound Racing Club and Greyhound Racing Victoria have delivered a very successful event,” Mr Attenborough said.

The TAB Melbourne Cup is the world’s richest greyhound race with a purse of $500,000. The winning greyhound in last night’s race, Got A Moment, won $350,000 for trainer Jason Thompson and connections.

Champion West Australian Miata was victorious in the nights other Group 1 Race, the Solo Bold Trease , earning $100,000 for trainer Paul Stuart and connections. The win took her to number four on the list of the highest earning Australian greyhounds, with $551,000 in prizemoney.

Take a Punt on our own future?

The Greyhound Racing Industry in Ireland has operated for too long away from mass media and major betting markets. Betting shop and online punters can bet on a myriad of sports every day of the week but not on Irish Greyhound Racing. There is a huge non-race going public contributing to an ever increasing betting turnover of which cartoon horse racing and lucky numbers profits more than our industry. Exposure to more mainstream betting markets is essential with our tired and dated TOTE service becoming increasingly inadequate as attendances fall. Examination of the Australian model highlights how important revenue from betting media is and the success of Paddy Power Bookmakers displays clearly that, even in recessionary times, the market is there!!

 

Paddy Power : An Irish Gambling Success

Operating within the same financial environment as the Irish and British greyhound industries, Paddy Power has taken massive steps every year, making huge increases on profit year after year, proving that disposable income and the ‘leisure Euro’ is there for the taking – if the product is right

Since flotation in 2000, annual turnover at Paddy Power increased from €363m to €3.8 BILLION in 2010! An average growth rate of 27%.Paddy Power is not standing still.  They have made massive investments in their online and technology capabilities. So much so that now a bet is struck via a mobile phone app every 3 seconds.  They operate an aggressive advertising policy and their social media presence is very strong.

In 2013 we still cannot place bets on Irish racing via a mobile phone device, apart from Saturday nights at Shelbourne Park.  Live streaming of racing on the IGB website is completely unreliable.