Victorian greyhound racing enjoyed some very strong outcomes in areas such as greyhound welfare, customer growth and its racing program during 2019-20 despite major challenges.
The code’s performance over the year is detailed in Greyhound Racing Victoria’s (GRV) 2019-20 Annual Report, tabled in the Victorian Parliament today.
Some of the year’s highlights include the re-homing of 2,542 greyhounds and a 25% reduction in euthanasia numbers over the previous year.
Victoria’s greyhound racing program expanded to 1,198 race meetings over the year, including new events such as the inaugural SEN National Straight Track Championship, the innovative
State-of-Origin event between Victoria and South Australia, ‘GR8 8’ special events and the Bendigo Battlers Cup.
National wagering turnover on Victorian greyhound racing in 2019-20 reached a new record $2.6 billion, up 10% on last year.
And in a historic first for Australian greyhound racing, GRV partnered with SKY Racing to broadcast Saturday morning meetings and then with Sky Racing World and TAB to broadcast Victorian greyhound racing throughout the USA.
GRV Chair, Peita Duncan, said these outcomes were achieved despite a range of challenges including a canine gastroenteritis outbreak, extreme weather conditions and bushfires and COVID-19.
“When the extent of COVID-19 pandemic became clear in early March 2020, GRV acted swiftly, leading all Australia’s racing jurisdictions in putting in place comprehensive biosecurity protocols,” Ms Duncan said.
“GRV also committed to maintaining prizemoney levels and racing schedules to ensure the livelihood of thousands of people and hundreds of local suppliers, many in regional Victoria, and the welfare of thousands of dogs.
“The success of this approach can be measured by the fact that greyhound racing recorded zero COVID-19 cases during 2019-20 thanks to how participants and race day staff worked together to follow protocols and support each other in keeping the sport on track.”
GRV’s CEO Alan Clayton said that like many other organisations across Australia, it was a financially challenging year for GRV.
“A shortfall in races and field sizes in the last months of 2019 and early 2020 and the closure of TAB outlets across Australia due to COVID-19 led to a significant drop in forecast revenue for the year,” Mr Clayton said.
However, GRV’s ability to offer a consistent and trusted wagering product when many other sports were shut down helped mitigate this loss of revenue through a 30% increase in wagering through other providers.”
Ms Duncan said the GRV Board and team gave heartfelt thanks to all of Victoria’s greyhound community, from participants and their families to frontline staff at race meetings to the clubs and volunteers at the track and at GAP.
“To keep racing under the circumstances of 2020 was a real privilege for the code and one that was won by their tireless effort, commitment, patience and passion for our sport. Because of them, Victorian greyhound racing now has a great box draw for a prosperous future,” Ms Duncan said.
GRV’s 2019-20 Annual Report is available online at: grv.org.au/about-us/grv-annual-reports