Greyhound Racing Ireland has set its budget for 2021 taking into account the likely long term impact on attendance at Greyhound Racing from Covid 19 restrictions.
Prize money support remains the single most efficient way of getting money back into the industry and this will stand at €8.8 million for 2021. This is down on the €9.4 million which was set aside for 2019 and again in the current year, but following the cessation of all gate revenue, food income and betting at the tracks that is a fair achievement.
“The budget would not have been possible without the additional allocation of €2.4M from the Horse & Greyhound Fund which brings the 2021 allocation to €19.2M,” said Greyhound Racing Ireland Chair, Frank Nyhan.
“In that regard, the Board would like to express its thanks to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and his officials for their support to the greyhound industry.”
“The Board is very conscious of the impacts of the restrictions associated with Covid-19 on the wider greyhound industry. It is hugely important to the industry that greyhound racing continues to operate at all of our tracks. This has been achieved despite the cessation of commercial activities through the loss of gate admissions, tote operations and food & beverage income all of which have been very seriously impacted as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.”
“The budget for 2021 focuses on maintaining greyhound racing and progressing our primary objective of strengthening the greyhound industry through the introduction of a traceability system and an extensive Care & Welfare Programme both of which will stand to the industry in the medium to long-term. We are also ready to recommence our restaurant and tote operations when national circumstances permit full resumption.”
Care and welfare funding has been maintained as best as possible despite the budgeted income for the funding from a percentage of all gate receipts, food and betting income and sponsorship dropping from €740,000 to €249,000.
The budget still provides for a full year of operation of a new traceability system for racing greyhounds.
The implementation of a scanning project at all tracks and the introduction of a traceability system for all racing greyhounds are currently being finalised and both projects will be completed by the end of 2020.
The overall capital spend on the scanning and traceability projects is €300K with annual operating costs of €142K.
Other major line items in the budget include €991,000 to the Care and Welfare Programme, €407,000 to the National Greyhound Laboratory, @306,000 towards Veterinary care at tracks and €1.3 million towards integrity services, regulation and traceability.
Funding has been set aside for the continued operation of the recently opened Care Centre in Thurles, Co Tipperary and provision for the opening of a second Care Centre in 2021, as well as for maintaining the financial contribution to the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust.
During 2020 additional financial support was provided by GRI in the form of a grant of €8,000 towards meeting the costs of private tracks.. A contingency sum has been provided in budget 2021 to maintain a level of financial support to private tracks in the event that the current restrictions continue during 2021.
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