Online and offline bookmakers have become accustomed to evolving their products, and the likes of Paddy Power are currently developing their focus on an age-old sport – greyhound racing. The growing numbers of bettors gambling on 'the dogs' has been growing in recent years across the UK market.
And with the fixed odds betting terminals under more scrutiny, bookies are wise to try and diversify. In the case of Paddy Power, the company has just announced a deal with the Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Service fixtures, which will see the sport's most popular races become televised in its high-street bookmaking venues.
In a bid to increase the durability of its offline gambling income, independent bookmaker Paddy Power has announced a deal with the Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Service (BAGS). Under the terms of the partnership, Paddy Power betting shops will beam live greyhound racing to customers, something that’ll be a feature of all the firm's 631 bookie shops across the UK.
The move is great news for gamblers who use Paddy Power, since they’ll be able to watch an estimated 1,619 races from BAGS' 12 affiliated greyhound tracks. BAGS itself has a fixture list created in association with The Racing Partnership, a long-standing and respected organisation that gives BAGS credibility.
Commenting on the BAGS deal, Paddy Power Betfair’s Managing Director for Retail, David Newton, revealed that the champagne corks were popping after securing a great deal for punters and the brand:
“Paddy Power is delighted to have entered into this agreement to ensure that customers have access to a broader range of quality greyhound racing content.”
In an age when offline bookmaking business is under threat, new initiatives are essential for protecting brand integrity and mitigating risks. The Racing Partnership revealed its own positive reaction to the deal with one of the leading names in the UK gambling industry, with the organisation's director, Mark Kingston highlighting the integrity and respect that BAGS fixtures have:
“We’re delighted that Paddy Power has joined other betting shop operators in being able to show BAGS greyhound fixtures on its channels. The BAGS schedule comprises over 1,600 fixtures per year from well-known tracks with a proven record of integrity and welfare. This is a further vindication of the value of the BAGS brand and all it stands for.”
The deal is deemed to be a positive move for all concerned. Greyhound racing is in dire need of more funding, if the UK isn't to lose an iconic part of its sports betting history. Equally, bookmakers need to maximise their revenue in an ever-changing market, with the continued maturation of online betting a big threat to its longevity.
Fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) have come under a huge amount of government and industry pressure over the past 18 months. Indeed, there are calls for the machines to have maximum bet limits of £2, something with potentially serious income results for UK bookmakers.
While many argue that the type of gambler who bets on the machines is different to those who bet on sports such as greyhounds, horse racing and football, others suggest that punters will simply switch from the machines, and as such the bookies revenue will not be hit, as feared.
It's therefore possible that Paddy Power has increased its greyhound visibility to diversify its portfolio in the event of revenue loss from the FOBT machines. Indeed, the many greyhound races that Paddy Power will beam in its shops every afternoon will provide a stream of entertainment for those who are used to placing high-volume bets on the fixed-odds machines, which include roulette, bingo and virtual sports.
Greyhound racing, despite its own financial problems, is considered a sport whose profile is ripe for growth, particularly if better media coverage and punter information is made available. While the precise motive for Paddy Power's foray into the sport of greyhound racing isn't known, it looks good news for one of the UK's biggest bookmakers – not to mention offline gamblers.