UK greyhound racing prepares for June return

28 May 2020

Greyhound racing is set to return in the UK from 1 June, with betting content provider and racetrack operator Sports Information Services (SIS) preparing to offer coverage of events across eight tracks.

The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) has set out a five-phase approach for the resumption of racing, with phase one - comprising trial meetings behind closed doors - successfully completed on 23 May.

This comes after a two month shut-down, that began when the UK went into lockdown as a result of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) from 23 March.

This clears the way for phase two, which will see racing return behind closed doors. Each fixture will be limited to a maximum of ten fixtures with a minimum 30 minutes’ gap between races.

For this phase, SIS will return with coverage 42 fixtures across its eight greyhound tracks per week, as well as reintroducing its service at Towcester. The fixtures will be spaced throughout the day, with two in the morning; two in the afternoon; and two in the evening, to offer digital customers a broad range of betting opportunities.

“Our UK tracks have been undergoing trials for the last week and will continue through this week to ensure that all racing greyhounds will have completed at least two trials before racing resumes on 1 June,” SIS product director Paul Witten said.

“We’re very pleased to see a return to racing and would like to pay thanks to our tracks who have been very supportive of these new measures.”

Should phase two go without any hitch, phase three will see the maximum number of races increased to 12, with a minimum 25 minutes between each race. Phase four will then see no limit on the number of races, with a gap of twenty minutes between races, before the fifth and final phase sees a return to normality.

Witten added that SIS was liaising with the Irish Greyhound Board, and that the supplier was confident it would be able to extend its service to include fixtures from the country later in June.

It comes after Covid-19 effectively forced SIS into "hibernation", with the shut-down of all retail services leading to a significant number of staff being furloughed. The business continued to supply operators with online content, however.

The supplier was also hit by the suspension of British racing from 18 March, though that is also set to return from 1 June.