Firstly, I am pleased to welcome two new members to the Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) Board, Bill Buccilli and Daniel Nugent, both who have extensive experience in the sport and strong business skills. I am also very pleased that Peita Duncan has been reappointed as Chair of GRV’s Board for the next three years and that Emmett Dunne is taking up the role of Deputy Chair.
Back in March GRV increased prize money and started programming more races for stayers (races of 480 metres and longer), delivering benefits for the dogs, trainers and breeders who are looking for more distance racing opportunities. And last month GRV added an additional $1.3 million to the prize pool, including more money for May and June races and for certain grades well suited to younger greyhounds. As part of this package, the new Pink Diamond series also received $790,000 in prize money and breeder bonuses which are available exclusively for Victorian-bred greyhounds throughout this June.
As we come to the close of the financial year, a very good picture of the sport’s wagering performance over the past 12 months is becoming clear. By the end of this April, total national turnover on Victorian greyhound reached $2.82 billion, a 40% increase on the same time last year, and an all-time record for the sport, even before we reach the end of this financial year.
This phenomenal growth has been driven by an expanded racing program and an increased customer base following the extended closures of other wagering sports and of retail TABs around the nation last year. GRV is now working to maintain and further grow this customer base.
Thanks to this strong wagering outcome, GRV is in a good position to consolidate and build on racing initiatives introduced in 2019-20. GRV is also planning to increase investment in track infrastructure to sustain the demands of an expanded racing program and the growing uptake of free trials. We will continue working with individual clubs, and with Greyhound Clubs Victoria, to improve existing tracks. We are also developing a masterplan for Cranbourne to ensure a long-term future for racing in the region.
And speaking of racing infrastructure, the Traralgon redevelopment, which includes a new state of the art track and a major facilities upgrade, remains on schedule for completion in mid-September. Then, following trials, it is expected to open for racing in late October which will be a great start to our summer racing season.
Finally, I would like to thank all the club and race day staff and volunteers who have again kept our racing program on track during the current lockdown. And once again I thank all participants for your patience and co-operation during another challenging time for all of us. Stay Safe. Stay Racing.