As we move into 2021, I hope we can look forward to a year with significantly less challenges than in 2020. Nevertheless, we are prepared if such challenges do arise. For the moment I am pleased to note that wagering turnover on Victorian greyhound racing has continued to grow at unprecedented levels. During the second half of 2020, total domestic turnover on Victorian greyhounds, with all wagering operators, grew by more than 50% and total annual turnover is now expected to exceed $3.2 billion. A significant proportion of this growth comes from Corporate bookmakers.
Victoria’s ability to offer consistent, trusted and exciting greyhound racing has attracted many new people to the sport and even as other wagering opportunities open up again, they are sticking with the code. Wagering turnover has also been boosted by an expanded racing calendar with an additional 69 meetings and 796 extra races up to January 15 this year. This has also created new earning opportunities for trainers and owners and more starts for dogs at all levels. The increased revenue from this remarkable boost in wagering will flow into higher prizemoney and other returns for participants and investment in new racing infrastructure that will provide a safer working environment for the greyhounds and better experiences for audiences at the track. You will be seeing lot of progress on these issues over the coming year.
I must remind you though that while things are returning to normal, it is still very important that we all continue to follow healthcare directives and these may vary from club to club depending on the size of their indoor facilities. So please check with your club first if you are planning to attend race meetings.
And if you are travelling interstate and returning, please check the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services coronavirus website to ensure you comply with the Victorian Government’s current rules regarding interstate travel under the new traffic light system. We have done a fantastic job of keeping our sport safe and healthy so far and let’s keep it that way.
Finally I’d just like to mention some issues which we need to be aware of at the moment. There appears to be an increase in the number of greyhounds with symptoms of Kennel Cough being reported to vets over the past week and reports that it is spreading in the broader dog population. Symptoms have been relatively mild and short-lived but we shouldn’t take any chances.
Any greyhound which may have Kennel Cough or been exposed to a greyhound with Kennel Cough, must be scratched from any races and trials and withdrawn from communal training facilities and GAP intakes. And a reminder too that GRV’s Hot Weather Policy is in force and applies to both club and post-race trials on hot weather affected days. So please check if you haven’t already, details of the policy and the related Transport policy at greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/policies-and-guidance.
We had quite a year in 2020 but I am confident that in 2021 we can get back to focussing on what we do best, which is delivering the best greyhound racing in the world.