Greyhound Racing Ireland (GRI) has today (Thursday 30 March) released an interim 2016 statement which provides an overview of the financial position and highlights the significant debt burden. The unaudited figures show a group operating surplus of €3.3 million (EBITDA and movements in the defined benefit pension liability), an increase from €2.3 million in 2015.
Total prize money for race meetings increased from €6.7 million in 2015 to €8 million in 2016, an increase of 20% which is attributable to increased exchequer support. The year saw an increase in attendance at race meetings, from a total of 635,289 in 2015 to 641,622 along with an increase in race meetings from 1,642 to 1,675 in 2016.
The IGB further reduced their bank loans in 2016 by €0.75 million, leaving the total net bank debt at €20.3 million by 31 December 2016.
Exchequer support through allocations from the Horse & Greyhound Racing Fund increased to €14.8 million, from €13.6 million. Total revenues (excluding exchequer support) for 2016 stood at €30.3 million. The 2016 results incorporate income received from the agreement with SIS for the broadcast of live racing content from Mullingar, Youghal and Tralee which has been further expanded in 2017
Phil Meaney, Chairman of the GRI commented “The increase in prize money of 20% in 2016 will go some way to supporting greyhound owners nationwide. The legacy debt burden is still severe. No viable future for greyhound racing exists unless this debt is reduced. The renegotiation with our lenders over this debt is still on-going. The recent closure of Harold’s Cross was taken with regret but the sale will assist in tackling this burden of debt and will also facilitate the GRI to focus on making Shelbourne Park our premier national venue.”
The Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 specifies standards for greyhound welfare, establishes a register of Greyhound Breeding Establishments and regulates their operation. In 2016, the Welfare Team completed 571 inspections of kennels which resulted in 34 full investigations and over 20 sanctions being issued. In total, 5387 samples were taken to combat doping in 2016, of these 48 resulted in an adverse analytical finding. All such findings were referred to the independent Control Committee for adjudication, some of which remain to be determined by that Committee.
Phil Meaney added “The GRI does not tolerate mistreatment of greyhounds and we are committed to improving traceability of all greyhounds in the industry.’