Betting and Gaming Council claim delaying the Randox Grand National until betting shops are allowed to re-open could deliver £1m boost to racing
- An estimated £125m is bet on the National — Britain’s biggest betting race
- Betting shops are set to re-open two days after the Grand National on April 10
- Betting industry representatives are in talks with the BHA and Jockey Club
Delaying the Randox Grand National a few days until betting shops are allowed to re-open could deliver a £1million boost to racing.
That was the message from the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) as dialogue about a change of date continued between betting industry representatives, the BHA and Jockey Club, owners of the Aintree course where the race is run.
Officials at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have also been informed of the proposal, revealed in Sportsmail on Tuesday.
Bookmakers want the Grand National to be delayed by a few days for when shops can re-open
The Grand National is due to be run on Saturday April 10, two days before non-essential retail re-opens in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
An estimated £125million is bet on the National — Britain’s biggest betting race — and with many once-a-year punters, nearly half of all bets are placed in 6,700 high street betting shops.
Michael Dugher, chief executive of the BGC, said if these shops are shut, much of the money would not be staked, potentially depriving racing of a seven-figure boost in the Levy paid to the sport.
Dugher said: ‘Delaying the Grand National until betting shops are open is definitely an idea worth exploring. I appreciate this is not without its challenges, but we are willing to do all we can to iron out any difficulties.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed betting shops can re-open two days after the event
‘Ensuring that the once-a-year punters are able to pop into their local bookies to have a flutter, supporting their high street on the world’s most famous horse race, would also help make the Grand National a truly national celebration as we begin to reopen the economy.’
The BHA and the Jockey Club declined to comment but one suggestion is flipping dates with the Scottish National, which is scheduled for April 17.
Meanwhile, Ascot officials have said the huge cost of setting up contingency plans makes it unlikely they will delay the royal meeting in June.
Capacity crowds are pencilled in to return on June 21, two days after Royal Ascot finishes.
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